There are many “if only I’d known” occasions in life, and selecting what to study in university might have been one of them for some. But this may not be the case for you now!
The leap from junior college/ pre-university education to university and subsequently working life is often a fearful one, as the journey is filled with great uncertainties. This is exacerbated by insufficient knowledge on the courses offered by various universities and the possible career opportunities associated with the courses, as well as what the career entails.
Recognizing the gap in today’s situation, Project OSYO (which stands for “Our stories. Your opportunities.”) was established to increase awareness of possible undergraduate courses and the career options/ opportunities associated with various undergraduate specializations.
Digital Senior speaks to Hui Xiang, OSYO’s founder, to find out more!
Could you share with us about what OSYO does?
We crowd source and share stories of working professionals with respect to their undergraduate education and careers on this public domain. The retrospective nature of these stories allows pre-university students to see the link between the different courses and subsequent career opportunities and triggers them to think through if the career is what they eventually want to pursue.We also help to connect those interested to find out more or have more questions with some of the contributors.
How did it come about?
I have always felt that there’s a gap between what we imagined working is like when we were studying and when we eventually stepped into the workforce, and sometimes I hear stories from people around me about how they wished they had studied something else during university days so that they could do a certain kind of work. At the point when we make the decision on what to pursue for undergraduate education, we often do not have an idea of the work pre-requisites.
It was after working for a couple of years that I thought I have the capacity to do something then.I was able to gain support from the chairperson of the Hwa Chong Junior College (HCJC) Alumni executive committee and with that, I decided to embark on this project.
At that point in time, I had imagined it to be a catalogue of 30 stories that can provide my juniors in Hwa Chong an understanding to a variety of undergraduate courses and careers. Hence I called it a “Project”.
However, I received emails from readers expressing the usefulness of the site and that spurred me to continue reaching out to people for stories. In turn, I started to think that perhaps it would be good to promote the website to any pre-university student in Singapore too.
How long did it take for this project to materialize?
From conceptualizing to reaching out for stories to launching the website, it took about five months.
What is one common thing you’ve noticed from all the submissions received so far?
There is no one common thing per se, but it is interesting to note the spread in technical knowledge and soft skills such as critical thinking/ problem solving/ communication being identified as the most useful takeaways from undergraduate education. More work experience is also frequently mentioned as an area seniors wished their undergraduate education could have covered.
With around 70 stories under the hood now, almost 50% said their current job is totally related to their undergraduate course of study, while 1 in 4 did something that is not related to their undergraduate course at all, with the remaining stating their job being somewhat related to their course. This highlights the importance of our undergraduate education as the internship or career opportunities presented subsequently are directly influenced by the choice of course we make.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to all the juniors/uni seekers out there?
Knowing what you want and why you want it is important because we are the masters of our own destiny. Knowing what you don’t want goes a long way too!
In the book “Outliers”, Gladwell writes “it is not the brightest who succeed, nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is, rather, a gift. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities — and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.” It is, hence, upon us to seize the opportunity. Click here to check out Project OSYO now!