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Youth Voices: Turning Points In My Education

19 Feb 2021

Stock image. Photo taken before COVID-19.

How do you decide which way to go? Four students share their considerations for choosing their education pathway… including bumpy roads and wrong turns.

What if you start losing interest in your favourite subject? What if you don’t get into the course you wanted? And how do you know if you have chosen the right field of study?

The experiences below will show you that no matter what dilemma you may be facing in your education choices, there’s always a solution.


Be Open to Changes

Zoey Chan, 18
Graduating from St Andrew’s Junior College

“When I first started in JC, I was very passionate about Biology. But over time, I started to feel that it was very structured, and I could not imagine working in this field.

“Around that time, I did a Project Work assignment related to sustainability. My friends and I designed a vending machine that dispenses locally produced vegetables.

“That experience changed my plans.

“For the project, I had to think about the user experience, how the vegetables would be dispensed, and what the vending machine would look like.

“I discovered that I value the freedom to create. What really appealed to me was that I could imagine a unique product in my head and turn that into reality. Of course, it takes a lot of research to create a viable and sustainable design.

“This project brought together my love for art, design and problem-solving – I really enjoyed it.  Now I’m hoping to pursue a degree in industrial design after my A-Levels.”


Test Your Choices

Muhammad Syazan Bin Saad, 19
Final year, Diploma in Law & Management student, Temasek Polytechnic

“After secondary school, I was thinking of pursuing either Malay Language Programme at JC or a law diploma at poly.

“I eventually chose poly because I’m more inclined towards applied learning, and I wanted to have a taste of the working world. I saw that the poly course offered internship experiences.

“But I still wanted to be sure that I had made the right choice. So, in my second year in poly, my friend and I wrote to the Law Society Pro Bono Services to apply for an internship with them during our break. They agreed.

“For one month, I would take calls from people who called in for legal aid, listen to their problems and then direct them to the right volunteer lawyers. It was a simple job but eye-opening to the challenges that people faced and the role of law to help people.

“Then in my third year, I did a 16-week attachment with the State Courts, where I was mentored by a judge. I had the opportunity to sit in courtrooms and observe how she conducted trials.

“These experiences helped to grow my interest in law and confirmed my choice. They showed me how I can use what I’ve learned to contribute to the community at large. I hope to pursue law at a higher level.”


Be Ready to Pick Up New Skills

Sean Goh, 21
Final year, Diploma in Maritime Business, Singapore Polytechnic

“I studied human resource and administration at ITE.  I wanted to continue with this in poly but I did not qualify for this course. I was wondering what to do next.

“My cousin was pursuing Diploma in Maritime Business, and what he said about the course piqued my interest. He said I’d learn about broad business principles, and things like ship operations.

“This appealed to me as I’m more of a hands-on person, and I signed up.  

“The course has been very interesting though I’ve had to grapple with challenges. For instance, I had to study data analytics and statistics. These are subjects that I’d usually avoid because I had failed Math at O-Levels. But I couldn’t run away, so I just decided to try my best. And those skills proved useful.

“For my final-year project, using  data analytics software, we helped an offshore maritime company to consolidate and identify the type of accidents that happen most, so they could look into potential danger spots, and rectify them. That felt good.

“These years have taught me that there are opportunities in every path you take. We need to be open to learning and not regret the choices we make.”


Know What Makes You Tick

Natasha Rosli, 23
First year, Hospitality Business, Singapore Institute of Technology

“I’ve always liked taking care of people. In secondary school, I was a class monitor and in Girl Guides. I was in charge of organising events such as visiting elderly homes, planning outings for preschool children and handover ceremonies for my CCA.

I’m a people-oriented person, and I liked to run around to make sure my team was feeling alright and they are hydrated.

“So, in ITE and also in poly, I chose to pursue a higher nitec and diploma related to event management.

“I like the adrenaline and challenge of organising events, and I feel satisfied knowing I have done a good job of it. I want to provide the best experience for a visitor; roll out the red-carpet treatment for them.

“I’d say that in making a decision, it’s really important to know what you enjoy doing, so you will do your best.”