Adilah Binte Affandi was unsure of herself and her career goals when she was a JC student. But the moment she joined the nursing programme at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, it was like a switch had been flipped. Here, she talks about the ups and downs of her education journey, and how she found the path that’s right for her, albeit a longer route.
By Sabrina Lee
Adilah Binte Affandi’s passion for healthcare began at a young age. While accompanying her aunt to a gynaecologist appointment, Adilah watched in wonder as the ultrasound captured the baby’s features and movements. It was a thrilling moment for the six-year-old.
She also remembered the compassionate care her aunt received from the nurses and doctors, who went above and beyond to make her aunt feel comfortable. Adilah recalled thinking at that moment, ‘I want to be able to do that for people too.’ The warmth and empathy shown left an indelible mark on Adilah, and she knew right then that she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare to help others in similar situations feel safe, comfortable, and cared for.
Fast forward to today and Adilah is now thriving in her third year of the nursing programme at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), but this moment came after a few difficult twists and turns in her journey.
Lost in transition – feeling misplaced in the halls of learning
When the time came for Adilah to choose a path after her O Level, her parents steered her towards what they thought was the ‘tried-and-true' route. “They both went to JC and thought it would be the best way for me to get into university,” Adilah explains.
As a Science student in Catholic Junior College (CJC), Adilah took Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Economics. Despite her best efforts, she struggled with the workload, which ultimately led to a lack of enjoyment in what she was doing.
Frustrated, she thought of quitting, but her parents remained resolute in their decision for her to continue. After a year at CJC, Adilah transferred to Millennia Institute (MI), hoping that its three-year course would be a better pace for her.
Yet, she still felt disconnected. “I didn’t feel that my subject combination aligned with my interests,” she says. She eventually completed her A Level, but her grades could not secure her a spot in the university of her choice.
Fuelled by a desire to make a difference in the lives of others
Adilah helping a patient during her shift at Changi General Hospital.
In the midst of her soul-searching, she found herself revisiting her childhood dream. Adilah decided to pursue a Diploma in Nursing at NP and has not looked back since.
With a grin, she describes the hands-on training she receives in the nursing skills laboratory, where she practises on life-like mannequins and works alongside her peers. “The group work is reflective of what it’s like to work in a real-life hospital setting, which is so exciting!”
Now in the home stretch of her final year at NP, Adilah is already out in the real world, interning at Changi General Hospital where she takes vitals, administers medication, and interacts with patients.
After a few rocky years, Adilah is fully in her element now, and making plans to apply to university in either the fields of dentistry or pharmacology or speech therapy.
With a rejuvenated perspective, Adilah says, “Success is not just a smooth journey to university but finding and pursuing your passion even if it takes longer. While my end goal stays the same, I know now there are other ways to get there.”
Watch Adilah in conversation with Education Minister Chan Chun Sing here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHkL1UbRL1A
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