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St Joseph’s Convent Scholarship Recipient – Work hard, Pray hard

By Lara Pickford Gordon

Giordanne (pronounced as ‘Jordan’) Lovell is the recipient of an additional scholarship and currently pursuing Actuarial Science at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine.

The past student of St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando studied Pure Mathematics, Physics, Economics, plus required topics Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination.

Giordanne, a practicing Catholic, said earning the scholarship was a blessing.

Looking back, she said it took “a good bit of work”. She told the Catholic News that she kept a schedule, allocating time to topics in each of the subjects. “It was very challenging to stay disciplined and manage my time; you don’t be in the mood to do work all the time but I managed.” Prior to the closure of schools last year, her routine was to take a break when she returned home from school then do homework around 4 p.m. take another break afterwards and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. study. If she studied three topics in a day, to break up the routine she would watch YouTube videos or listen to music. Giordanne said she tried to fit in exercise “here and there”.

“You need your brain to cool off to be able to continue your studies; you can’t just cram every single thing. It won’t work,” she said.

Giordanne revealed that she did music on the side and participated in a couple competitions. She rates herself as “okay” saying she studied piano up to Grade Six until studies for Unit 2 of CAPE got “a little overpowering”. To contextualise her statement, there are eight grades in piano lessons, Grade 6 is called ‘late intermediate’ in piano and Grade 7 is ‘early advanced’. Giordanne said she still plays piano “here and there for recreation” without doing the grade exams.

She described herself as a mix of naturally gifted and hard worker. Studying was not a challenge but she put in the extra work required, knowing being naturally gifted without effort cannot work.

Giordanne credits her parents Andrew and Isabella Lovell for their support; they never pressured her to do well. “I was never told ‘you have to do this’, ‘you have to do this’. All that mattered was that I did my best.” Her three older sisters shared their experience and advice doing CAPE.

Giordanne said her Catholic faith gave “the extra push and the guidance” needed to excel. She added, “I felt I would not perform as great if I did not have a relationship with God…it complemented all the hard work I did to ensure I remembered everything I learned”.

One of the stresses she experienced last year was the uncertainty about the final exam format. Based on the COVID-19 pandemic, CXC decided to have: Administration of at least one common paper (multiple choice assessments); School Based Assessments (SBAs) and Paper 032s (Alternative to SBA) for private candidates; and award final grades based on the moderated SBAs and multiple choice papers.

“CXC decided to have Paper One alone and take our SBA marks. That is how they determined the grades. I was not very confident. There are past papers and the Paper One questions they usually repeat; everyone has access to those past papers…. CXC usually uses a curve depending on the performance of everybody in the year group…so if everybody does well, how you even determining the grades?” She got Grade 1s in all her subjects.

Unit 2 dealt her disappointment when she got Grade 2s in Pure Mathematics and Physics. Giordanne said she was “really upset” and decided to query. This led to her upgrade to Grade 1s. She knows that if she did not do this, she probably would never have received a scholarship.

Undergraduate studies in Actuarial Science at UWI is proving, “definitely way more challenging than CAPE”. Giordanne said her classes are online though she would prefer in-person. “It is not the same but I think I am managing it pretty well”.

The advice she has for students:

1. Work hard, don’t compete with anyone else than yourself. Do your best.

2. Don’t feel discouraged when your studies don’t go as expected and there seems to be a lot to do and not enough time. “Don’t stress about it; you will get it done”. Pray about it.

3. Manage your time

Giordanne said not everyone can get a scholarship but this should not discourage persons from doing their best. “Work hard and it will all work out.”

Catholic schools received a total of 29 scholarships. Full list from the Ministry of Education HERE