At first glance, Ba lass Chen Jie looks like an average 18-year old. Her achievements, however, are anything but average.
The former Xavier High School student boasts a stellar record of academic and extracurricular achievements, the most recent being a score of 367 out of 400 in the Fiji Seventh Form Examination.
As she chats amiably, she reveals that while her parents - Jin Shan Chen and Wu Jian Ling - are originally from China, Chen herself was born in Fiji, along with siblings Donna Chen,14, and Damon Chen,1.
Being the oldest, Chen has set a wonderful example to her younger siblings.
She attended St Theresa Primary School from Class 1 to Class 6 before heading to Xavier College for her secondary education.
When asked why she chose to attend Xavier College, she replied, "It's probably the best school around."
Chen was in the school IQ Active team, which ultimately won the FMF IQ Active 2012. She was also crowned the school Dux in 2012.
With the Fiji Seventh Form Certificate Examination results out, she proudly revealed her individual subject marks: English 86, Maths 97, Accounting 97, Economics 87 and Computer Studies 82.
At school, her favourite subject was Maths. "I love numbers. Love calculating. I'm good at it. I was in the Team Maths Competition for my school, for which I was the captain. We came second in the national finals." she said
Her least favourite subject was English.
Apart from the Team Maths Competition, Chen was also part of the school team for the Chow Spell Well competition. She was also in Xavier College's team for the Kaila! Design Your Own Newspaper 2012.
Chen is not all academic. In between she loves to read, listen to music and watch movies. Her favourite book is "The Host" by Stephanie Meyer. She loves music by Maroon 5 and Demi Lovato.
She also indulges in stage performances.
After high school, the 18-year old ventured she would most probably be part of the commerce field.
"Accounting is one of my favourite subjects. Deals with money and numbers." she said
Inspiration is always a major factor in the success story of every individual and Chen Jie is no exception.
"My parents have always been supportive. They give incentives when I do well in school. They help me set up high targets and achieve them." she said
Leaving high school is hard for any school student and Chen Jie said she had a mixed feeling about it.
"I feel overwhelmed, happy and sad. I will probably miss the extracurricular activities that we do in school. I won't miss all the restrictions, though!" she added laughing.
Now that high school is over, she is looking forward to university in Australia.
'I have applied for a PSC scholarship in Actuarial Studies, but if I do not get a scholarship, then I will study privately. My choice is to study Actuarial Studies at the University of Macquarie in Sydney"
Some major challenges about life ahead according to Chen is the adjustment of students to a new environment.
"It would be hard to adjust to a new environment, especially me as I will be leaving my friends and it will be a challenge as many students would be working hard and I will have to work hard as well." she said
Chen's long term goals include working as an actuary after completing her studies and her short term goal is nearly achieved, as she has to send her result notice to officials at the University of Macquarie to confirm her placement.
She believes that exams are essential, and that all students should be given their fair marks.
"I don't like scaling. It does not show ua a fair view of what we get. Even if our papers are hard, I would probably want a lower mark to see how I really performed." She said
"More scholarships should be given as tertiary institutions are expensive. Brain drain is occurring in Fiji and we need to stop it from happening. You can't live without education." Chen said
Chen agrees to the fact that not all students are academically gifted, and therefore, provisions need to be made to cater for students with different types of interests.
"Creative schools should be open in Fiji. Other things like dancing, acting and singing. Some people are really talented in these fields."
And she also has a view on corporal punishment in schools. It is something she does not condone.
"Other forms of punishment should be present like detention."
She also added that parents should make a point to encourage students, and not pressure them.
"It depends on what extent the students are being pressured. Keep encouraging them to do well in school. Keep measures to keep children in control. Parents should encourage them to do well in things students enjoy," she stressed.
As a student, Chen says she knows that distractions are a part of life. Relationships in schools are a major distraction.
When asked whether relationships should be banned in schools, she replied, "I think so".
She also stated that parents need to spend more time with their children in order to keep children from indulging in drugs, glue sniffing, alcohol and bad company.
Finally she says that every young person has a passion.
"As a student, discover what you love doing, your talents and build a career based on your passion," she said.
* Shayal Devi is a former student of Natabua High School. She is a recipient of a Best Young Writer award for the 2012 Kaila! Design Your Own Newspaper project. She also won herself a one-week newsroom stint at The Fiji Times.