Some time back, I saw an article link posted by a fellow blogger friend regarding a Mediacorp artist whom had became successful today despite that she was once from ITE. I wish to take this opportunity to share my very own story. You can read the artist’s story here.
Most of you would not know me well enough to know my background, in particularly my educational background. Many friends look at me today in awe and admired me because of my life achievement. But they failed to see my struggles and the hardship i went through back in school. It is not by sheer luck, neither do I have the clever brains that I am, who I am today. It is a whole lot of hard work and knowing what I want, picking myself up from where I fell. From then on, it was a whole lot of planning and making major life changing decisions.
To begin my story, let me share with you my background. Right from the start, I left Primary 6 with reasonable grades and an average PSLE result that gave me 2 choices. I could go to a better school and go into a 5 years normal academy stream or I could opt for an average neighborhood school with a 4 years express stream. I choose the later, thinking that its better to finish school in 4 years, rather than 5 years.
When in Secondary School, I did very poorly with my Mathematics, Science and Accounting subjects. It must be partly due to the fact that I was often bullied in school, either because of my family background (not rich and affluent), or my looks (I had lots of pimples and very bad skin then) that made it hard for me to concentrate in school. In fact, I didn’t do well in most of my studying subjects. I realized that those which I performed better (my languages) was because I had a friendly and encouraging teacher. For those subject that I get either a teacher whom I could hardly understand what they were saying the whole time, or scolded us “Stupid” or played favoritism to top students, I would totally let go of the subject. My mind seems to wander off somewhere else whenever they were teaching in class. No matter how hard I tried, went for remedial classes, tuition classes etc… I never seem to do well.
By the time I reached Secondary 4, I knew that I am going to fail a few subjects for my “O” Levels Examination. I briefly calculated the points that I would require to end up in a course that I would totally not be interested in, but still be in a local polytechnic. I knew that no matter what, I need to pass my English, Mathematics and Science. I worked hard and I fight strong, my Science teacher said that I was never going to make it with my Science, but i proved him wrong. I passed! But I failed my Mathematics. Remember this thou, “O” levels is not just about passing, its about doing it well. Even if you get an average C or D for the subject, you’ll end up with too many points to get into a good course.
The day I received my “O” level results, I cried like hell. I didn’t know what to do. On my slip, there was only one option =ITE=> Was it the end for me….. ? I even had silly suicidal thoughts. I talked to my 2 other good friends “K”& “I”, like me… they didn’t make it to the Polytechnic either.
I knew right there and then that I only had a few choices, but because of the highly negative vibes and the branding of being “stupid” was so strong those times, I told myself to avoid going into ITE. I spoke to my mother about it and she answered me ” If you don’t wish to continue studying, what do you wish to do?.” She totally left the decision making to me.
Now, I had several options.
1) Retake my “O” Levels privately within the next year for my Mathematics, if I passed, I can appeal to get into Polytechnic to do a normal course with high cut off points. The ones with the highest points were either a Nursing course, OR an Engineering course (Lower points was better if you are wondering).
2) Go to ITE, I could only opt for the 2 years Secretarial course (the one and only course that appeared on my result slip). The positive side was that ITE was a government school and you’ll get your certificate recognized after you graduate. If you do well, you can get a chance to advance into a polytechnic to continue your studies. But whatever course you do in ITE, it has to be linked to the course which you are going to do in the Polytechnic. (E.g – Secretarial to Business, Nursing to Nursing, Engineer to Engineer etc)
3) Find a private institution and take up some computing course. As far as I could remember, in our days, there was only Informatics, TMIS, and some other less popular business schools available.
4) Discontinue my educational journey, find a job and perhaps find a chance to upgrade my skills later on.
Make a guess where I ended and what happened next…. Stay tuned to part 2 of My Educational Journey.
Disclaimer: This article first appeared on pearlywerkz.blogspot.sg. It was written by the same author.