Slowly and steadily: my journey from Normal Tech to Uni grad

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Looking back, progressing from Normal Technical stream to University was indeed a challenging but rewarding journey.

Being a rebellious child without any interest in studying caused me to nearly fail my GCE N-Levels in 2007. My turning point in life happened when I was in secondary three after being counselled by a religious practitioner. Since then, I have always put in my best effort in assignments, exams and everything I do and for a start, I was amongst the top 6 students of my cohort when I received my GCE N-Level results.

After progressing to ITE for three years (Nitec to Higher Nitec), I continued to strive and acquire the knowledge that was being taught. I managed to achieve remarkable results, scholarships and many other awards.

With a remarkable results I managed to progress to Ngee Ann Polytechnic to pursue my Diploma (Diploma in Business Studies/2011 to 2014), where the real challenge started to kick in. My parents were uncertain about my progression and most of my relatives were not optimistic due to my humble education background.

Most of my peers came from popular schools prior to polytechnic and had achieved remarkable GCE O-Levels results. With zero background in elementary & additional math, I began my journey by taking business statistics and other modules. It was indeed challenging, business statistics in particular, and true enough, I failed badly for my first common test. Instead of being pessimistic, I stayed positive and always consulted my lecturer when in doubt. My business statistics lecturer was also very kind to render his fullest support and assistance by coaching me whenever possible (as did many others) and I am grateful. With a positive attitude, I persevered, managing to clear all modules with a disappointing GPA of 2.3 during my first semester.

For semester two to four, it was indeed a roller coaster journey for me. For instance, during semester two, I was required to take business law and econs and it was challenging to secure good grades due to my poor command of English. For business law, I was also required to remember cases and the various acts. I had also met project groupmates who were free-riders, leaving me to cover most of their work. My tutor had also feedbacked this to me: “You are in polytechnic, but you write like a primary school student”. With a positive attitude and being committed to studies I managed to overcome, and my results and level of knowledge improved gradually over the semesters. For the remaining two semesters, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work and interact with a strong team that further boosted my knowledge.

After my national service, I progressed to pursue my degree offered by RMIT University via SIM Global Education. For 1.5 years, it’s even more challenging than polytechnic due to intense curriculum and deadlines. However, I managed to secure outstanding grades and I graduated with distinction. I had also score high distinction for business analytics and also remarkable results for other modules that includes business statistics. Can you believe it? Back in poly, I had only managed to secure a D for business statistics.  In addition, I had developed a strong interest in analytics, business stats, logistics operations after university and my family members were astonished by my results.

Whenever I faced challenges, I told myself: “Challenge is here and there is no turning point. You need to stay calm and find ways to overcome it. You have come this far, and you will be left with nothing if you give up” and also “no matter what you do, there is no one step to the top and you need to put in your effort in order to achieve the desired results”. With this, I managed to brace through the various challenges like a strong warrior when pursuing my polytechnic and university education.

During the course of pursuing my diploma and degree, I literally studied for over 12 hours daily at any place—even in the washroom. I would continue even when I was sick. It was very intense but rewarding and enriching.

I had also stayed proactive—resilient—with a keen-to-learn attitude and this had brought me to where I am now. I am fortunate to have secured a great job and I have always maintained this attitude that is rooted deeply inside me.

I hope to encourage every NT and ITE student, or just anyone, to not give up and to also brace through no matter what challenges you face in life. ITE is not “is the end” but a route to success. Do not be afraid to take on challenges and hardships as it will definitely be rewarding at the end of the day. Lastly, do not be afraid to learn new things. Stay positive, put in your utmost effort and you can definitely achieve your desired outcome.

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