Class of 2022, hello and welcome.

We may not have officially met but I feel like I already know a lot about you – you are curious, independent, adventurous, and open!  Keep nurturing that spark of curiosity because we will create many opportunities for you to explore, learn and experience.

College is a special time – for some of you – it will be your first time living away from home, and for some of you – that won’t be a challenge at all. Some of you are in a new culture and time zone, and some not. Some of you will feel like you blend into Singapore easily while others may feel you are highly visible.   Yale-NUS is a special place. We are a completely residential college with a community of extremely diverse learners. You will have many opportunities to make new friends, develop new skills, learn about yourself, and deepen your understanding and experience of the world. Keep an open mind and enjoy this experience. At the same time, be aware that there will be some moments of discomfort as we work at living in this small community together. These will also be valuable learning moments for you. Living in a residential college will, hopefully soon, begin to feel like a new home away from home.

From the residential college advisors and Dean’s Fellows to the student life and counselling professionals, my team in the Dean of Students Office works hard to ensure that you have access to the resources, connections and support to make your Yale-NUS experience unique and complete. I encourage you to reach out to take advantage of what we have available to you. The Yale-NUS College experience is centered around a key question “What must a young person learn in order to live a responsible life in this century?” Although we have designed our living and learning environment with this question in mind, I believe that you will each find your own highly personalised answer during your time with us. Some of your most transformative college experiences will take place beyond the classroom walls and we are excited to be part of your journey.

While you are raring to create the most complete college experience for yourself, I would also like to encourage you to not try to do everything. It is easy to fall into the practice of busyness. Many of my own fondest memories from college were from long, lingering hours in the lounge with my friends debating the merits of Star Trek versus Star Wars, arguing about politics so long in the dining hall that the lights got turned out, late night walks and the occasional dance party. I loved my classes, and my volunteering in the Women’s Centre as well of course, but my time at college would have been fundamentally less fulfilling (and a lot less fun) if I had missed out on any of this other stuff.

I hope you will each find the balance that is right for you – of gathering energy and excitement from your studies and your time together, and also of recharging and taking care of yourself more holistically.

We will try to support each of you as you navigate this new phase. I believe in a model where we communicate often and openly with each other, and we collaborate to co-create your experience here. So, please join me for lunch or invite me for coffee. I look forward to having you on campus and learning more about you and from you.


Joanne Roberts

Interim Dean of Students

Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs)