Last July, I finally attained an engineering degree with the University of Leicester in the UK. And now, after taking a break here in Singapore, I’m set to head back to the UK to do my master’s in Cranfield University.
To some, it may sound like I’ve got everything figured out – or maybe even think that life has been easy with me. But the truth is, just a few years ago, I didn’t even know what to do with my life. I was suffering from very low self-esteem and confidence issues, and was doing poorly with my studies and social life.
This article is a recount of my struggles as a young student who was dealing with the above issues and how, with the love, help and support of many people, I managed to overcome them. Most importantly, it is an homage to those same people…the real “engineers” of my humble success.
RECONSIDERING MY OPTIONS
To this day, I still don’t completely understand how someone can suffer from low self-esteem or confidence. For my case, I think that, when I was younger, I’m the type of person who can easily be discouraged. People would give me negative remarks and, even if they weren’t true, I would believe them.
This affected my social life and led me to perform poorly in school.
However, that wasn’t the worst part. When I tried to seek for help and guidance, the only advice that I could get was to reconsider my options because I wasn’t a “normal” student.
It was a really depressing moment. I remember feeling hopeless, helpless and not knowing what to do.
DISCOVERING MY TRUE POTENTIAL…AND ENGINEERING
Not wanting to give up on myself and my studies, me and my family looked around for a new school to enrol myself in. Insworld Institute stood out because, interestingly enough, it was small.
When I first visited the school, I immediately observed that the size made a huge difference on how students and staff treat and interact with one another. There was a feeling of “togetherness” and they weren’t hanging out in individual groups but we’re mingling with one another. It almost felt like walking into a home.
I also liked how my interview with them went. I felt a genuine concern from them as they listened to what my problems were and offered several options as to how I can proceed with my studies. In fact, one of my first interviews were with the school’s Principal himself, which caught me by surprise because I didn’t expect to meet with a “higher up” staff so soon. I was really impressed by that.
Their style of teaching was quite different too. There were only few students inside the classrooms and each were encouraged to participate in discussions. It was perfect for me because it really helped me improve on my communication skills and increase my self-confidence.
I also liked the fact that we were given weekly tests. It helped my teachers identify my weak points and give me any necessary support and assistance. That said, it helped identify my strengths as well – which turned out to be solving mathematical problems.
That’s why I really enjoyed studying Mathematics, Economics and Physics, and decided to progress to the University of Leicester in the UK.
LESSONS AND ADVICE
If there’s one lesson that I learned from my early years as a “struggling student,” it’s to never give up. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing or where would I be right now if I gave up on my studies.
That said, it is also important to seek help and guidance from the right people. If it wasn’t for my family’s unconditional love and support, I don’t think I would have managed to pull through my situation back then.
I’m also very thankful to all the students and staff at Insworld Institute. In many ways, my experience with them really helped me overcome my self-esteem and confidence issues. I felt very “welcomed” during my stay there and have, in fact, made friends from different nationalities there – which helped me prepare for my student life in the UK.
Another advice that I can share is to find out what you’re good at. With the help of my teachers at Insword Institute, I managed to identify my strengths and further improve on them. That’s why I will always be grateful for their patience in helping me develop the necessary skills and knowledge needed for Engineering.
Education is really important and don’t let anyone or anything deprive you of it. There are many pathways to learning and attaining a certificate or a degree, and you can choose one that is suitable for you. I think that’s the key to academic success, to realise that we have a choice. That at the end of the day, the decision to learn or to attain an education is in our hands – and ours alone.