Feeling lost after O-Levels? 3 tips from a poly alumnus for the road ahead.

Create your own “tomorrow”.

| Michelle Chew | Sponsored | December 22, 2023, 12:25 PM

As the new year inches closer to us, secondary school students waiting to collect their O-Level results will soon be faced with a question that may feel relatively daunting.

Where to next?

If you have it all figured out, good for you.

But not everyone may be so sure about the next stop in their education journey.

As someone who has been through our little red dot’s education system, here are some tips that (I hope) will be useful to you:

1. It’s okay not to know where you’re (eventually) headed to

At 16 or 17, it is totally fine not to have everything figured out.

Don’t feel pressured to make certain decisions just because the friends around you seem to be heading somewhere with a plan.

Be it to a junior college or a polytechnic, you can choose to head in any direction that you wish to go at this point.

From my observations, your life in the future is not (fully) dependent on your choice now.

Sure, it can expedite your journey (or not), but have you heard of the term “mid-career switch”? I rest my case.

If along the way you wish to reroute yourself, so be it.

After all, life is not a one way street, and there are plenty of options for you to make a turn (or a U-turn).

2. Know what you’re looking for now

Tertiary education in different schools can yield very different takeaways, so it’s important to know the kind of experience you’re looking to get.

Whether that be a deep dive into subjects in a relatively controlled environment (read: junior colleges), or applied learning for specific industries through collaborative work and internships (read: polytechnics) – know what matters most to you.

3. What works best for you

Most importantly, know yourself and ascertain the setting which you would thrive most in.

For starters, identifying your learning style is one great way to start. You’ve probably heard of the main types of learning, namely auditory, visual, or kinaesthetic.

Take for example, in Chemistry classes, I noticed that I learn best when I am able to visualise the concepts in action, beyond just hearing it or reading it in text.

This was the case when I eventually got into a media-related polytechnic course. We had a radio station on campus, with the actual equipment, so we could experience what it’s like to be a deejay.

But if you’re reading this and feel lost, speak to your teacher. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to give you their unsolicited advice.

After getting these insights, you might have a better idea about your educational pathway and which tertiary institute would most suit you.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

With all that being said, the decision can still be tough. I get it.

But you know what’s here to help? Open houses.

I remember the good ol’ days when I was a starry-eyed 16-year-old, rushing to visit the open houses of different polytechnics with my friends, and eagerly looking out for freebies.

Beyond all the excitement and buzz, it gave me a glimpse of what life in these schools would be like.

I’m glad to say that open houses in Singapore are still very much alive now (I would know, I’m writing an article on it).

3-day extravaganza

In fact, Temasek Polytechnic (TP) is running their open house from Jan. 4 to 6, where you can visit the campus grounds, learn more about their facilities, courses and CCAs all in one place.

The best part? You get to ask questions and have them answered on the spot.

TP aims to prepare you to be future-ready by equipping you with necessary skills to thrive, in a vibrant, nurturing and caring environment.

Should you need an example of the “caring” nature of the school, you’ll be glad to know that TP is also providing shuttle services between TP and Our Tampines Hub.

Available across all three days, you can make your way down to their open house with ease.

Hop onto the shuttle buses by heading to either of the pick-up points at Tampines West MRT Exit A or Arena @ Our Tampines Hub.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect at the open house:

Freebies galore

There’ll also be goodie bags with TP branded memorabilia for you to take home because who doesn’t love a free gift?

Image courtesy of Temasek Polytechnic.

Image courtesy of Temasek Polytechnic.

Don’t forget to sign up here and head down to collect your goodie bags.

Evening Fest

Did I mention that TP prides itself on being a “vibrant” institute?

It’s only apt to share that TP is bringing back the Evening Fest this year due to the overwhelming response during the previous run.

Here’s what it looked like:

Image courtesy of Temasek Polytechnic.

Image courtesy of Temasek Polytechnic.

Really vibrant and exciting, I know.

I wish open houses back then were half as fun as this, but I can’t change the past.

But lucky for you, here’s your opportunity to join the fun.

Happening on Jan. 5, 4:30pm to 8pm, there’ll be activities, giveaways, and free food and beverages.

There will also be fries, nachos, slushies… and wait for it… Ramly Burgers.

Don’t get me started on the line-up.

On top of the yearly art performances, the event will also feature performances by various CCAs too.

Glenn Yong, Chiou Huey, Jeff Lai (@playingwithpencils) and many others will be in attendance too.

Plus, Mediacorp 987 will also be doing a campus invasion during the event, so you can expect to see DJs Joakim Gomez and Ann Nicole.

This is an event you won’t want to miss, so make sure to register here now.

You’ll be required to show your confirmation email to receive a wristband for entry and a chance to win prizes such as an iPhone 15, a Samsung Flip 5, concert tickets and more.

School Seminars

TP is equal parts fun, and equal parts serious.

There’ll be six school seminars taking place on Jan. 6, where you can get insights for the courses, and receive tips for the upcoming Joint-Admission Exercise.

Image from Temasek Polytechnic’s website.

Find out more here.

Thinking of enrolling under the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP)?

There will be a PFP seminar where you can learn about the Ministry of Education’s switch to full subject-based banding in the coming years:

  • Date: Jan. 6, 2024
  • Time: 2pm to 3pm
  • Venue: TP Auditorium 1, Blk 9

Register here.

See it for yourself

From a senior to a (potential) junior, it’s definitely worth visiting open houses so that you expand your view of the campuses.

You can also take this time to do a ~vibe check~ of the school and your course seniors.

After all, that’s where you’re gonna be spending the next few years of your life, so it’s best to make an informed decision.

This sponsored article by Temasek Polytechnic made this writer reminisce about her good ol’ polytechnic days and wished she was still young.

Cover photo courtesy of Temasek Polytechnic.