Tuesday, 23rd April 2024

Tuesday, 23rd April 2024

EAE: Playing to a strength – Speaking to a larger audience

27 May 2020


Karisha thought that her dream of becoming a radio deejay was out of her reach – until she discovered a thriving student-run campus radio station in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Here, she shares how EAE helped her secure a place in NP’s Diploma in Mass Communication course, where her voice, and aspirations, were amplified. By Goh Hong Yi.

“I have a voice, and I intend to use it.”

Indeed, 20-year-old Karisha Partabrai is not afraid to speak up and be heard.

Since she was young, she’s loved talking to people and sharing her opinions with others. Her favourite lessons were those in which she could discuss and debate with her classmates. Naturally, she always volunteered when it came to class presentations!

Karisha’s enthusiasm and flair for public speaking was also noticed by her teachers in secondary school, who nominated her to be the emcee for various school events. She also represented the school in speech and debate competitions, which further honed her oratorical skills and increased her confidence.

Although Karisha cherished these opportunities, she was not sure how she could take her talent further and make a future for herself with her voice – would anyone pay to listen to her speak?

She found her answer during a school trip to Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) in Secondary 3.

Finding what resonates

As part of her school’s Education and Career Guidance (ECG) programme, Karisha visited NP to find out more about the programmes they had to offer. She was struck by the vibrant campus and the students who served as their guides during the tour.

“The seniors were really welcoming and friendly,” she recalled. “I knew that I could fit into this environment right away!”

But the highlight of the tour was the campus radio station. Fully equipped and run by students from NP’s Mass Communication course, Radio Heatwave is Singapore’s first campus radio station.

“I grew up listening to the radio. Although I had imagined being a deejay and entertaining listeners on air, I never dared to think about it as a career seriously. It just seemed so far-fetched!” shares Karisha.

“But that day, when I saw photos of some of my favourite local deejays at the Radio Heatwave booth and realised they had once been students at NP and now alumni… at this very radio station – my dream did not seem so out of reach anymore.”

Karisha got the chance to speak into the microphone at the radio station that day – and knew that was where she wanted to be.

Although that was indeed a defining moment for her, she also did her homework by reading more about the diploma course online. Her research further convinced her that this was what she wanted to do after her ‘O’ levels.

She shared, “I was excited by hands-on learning and the chance to go for internships, working for real clients and having a taste of the media industry.”

Fortunately, her parents supported her decision. It was not just a matter of respecting her choice, they believed that the Mass Communication course was a good fit for Karisha and would further develop her strengths.

Tuning in through EAE

Having made up her mind, Karisha decided to apply for the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) to secure a place in NP in Secondary 4.

“I didn’t want to take any chances,” she explained. “I do work hard for my studies, but I don’t always perform well for my exams. I applied for EAE because I want people to see my talent and my personality.”

Indeed, the EAE interview was an opportunity for Karisha to demonstrate what she was good at – communicating her ideas and sharing her passion for the spoken word.

Although Karisha had plenty of experience and could share her ideas confidently, she recalled that it was still a stressful experience – especially as she was interviewed alongside two other candidates!

“It was quite awkward at first to promote yourself in front of others,” she explained, “but I told myself not to think so much about how I would come across to the other two applicants and just be myself.”

She learned a lot from the group interview as well. All candidates were told to bring a portfolio to show their aptitude in the course of their choice.

While Karisha brought clips and certificates from her speech and debate competitions, another candidate presented a website that he curated content for. The third applicant took the interviewers through her Instagram page, and explained how she came up with content and built up a follower base over the years.

“It opened my eyes to the variety of skills needed in mass communications,” Karisha reflected. “I realised I have a lot to learn beyond just speaking well!

“The Hottest Thing on Campus”

NP’s Diploma in Mass Communication provided Karisha with the platform to do just that. Upon starting her first year in NP, she soon found herself conducting interviews, pitching to clients, designing adverts, managing a social media campaign – and of course her favourite, hosting shows on the radio.

“Learning at NP was actually better than I had expected,” she shared. “I was excited about what I doing everyday and working with people who have the same interest. That got me more motivated to do my best as well.”

The highlight of her NP experience was her six-month internship in her Final Year at Radio Heatwave as the Station Manager – a fitting culmination of her journey that began with her visit to the radio station in Secondary 3. Just like she would have to for a real job, Karisha had to send in her resume and go through an interview to be selected for the position.

As Station Manager, she was responsible for running Radio Heatwave – which broadcasts live 5 days a week from 10am to 6pm from their website.  From auditioning the student DJs (known as “jocks”, short for “disc jockey”), scheduling shows, overseeing the interviews, securing sponsors and planning events, Karisha had to apply all that she had learnt and lead others at the same time.

She also got the chance to network with professionals in the radio industry and yes – her favourite deejays as well!

Hosting events was just a part of what Karisha did as part of her internship

“In a way, I was my own boss,” she said. “I’ve always loved being on air, but I grew to enjoy doing the back-end work of a radio station as well. Besides the technical and planning work, a lot of it is also about managing people – whether it’s my team mates, or our clients and partners. It’s challenging, but exhilarating too!”

During Karisha’s stint as station manager, she focused on increasing the radio station’s presence on campus. This included starting ‘High Key’, an event to promote Radio Heatwave’s brand as the “hottest thing on campus”.

The event, which featured evening performances by local singers and shows by home-grown fashion labels, attracted more than 150 participants and is now a yearly event run by Radio Heatwave.

Next on the Playlist

Karisha’s experiences in NP gave her a better understanding of the media industry – and reaffirmed her dream to be a radio DJ.

Having graduated last month, she plans to pursue a degree in Sociology to widen her perspective. She believes that a deeper understanding of society will help her to become a better host and storyteller in the future. In the meantime, she is taking on jobs as an emcee to keep her skills sharp. The contacts she gained from her internship certainly helped!

Karisha’s parents also believe in her. Her mother says, “Karisha has always been a go-getter. Her passion for radio and all she has accomplished in her three years in NP makes us all the more supportive of her dream to be a radio DJ.”

To students who are in secondary school and thinking about their next steps in life, Karisha has this piece of advice to share:

“Seize the opportunities that your school offers you. Whether it is participating in a competition or being an emcee for a school event, these are experiences that help you understand yourself and your strengths better. Who knows, they may also be valuable experiences that tell a potential interviewer or employer what you are capable of!”

For more information on the EAE process, approach the relevant institution:

ITE: www.moe.gov.sg/admissions/direct-admissions/ite-eae
Polys: www.moe.gov.sg/admissions/direct-admissions/eae