Friday, October 18, 2013

From JC to Poly: My Exciting Adventure


Yes, I was from a Junior College (JC).

No, I was not a JC dropout.

Yes, , I completed my GCE ‘A’ Levels before entering Nanyang Polytechnic because I am currently studying Occupational Therapy (OT), a course which requires an ‘A’ levels certificate.

Why OT? What is OT? I had not heard of OT before I joined! Are these questions also running through your mind at this very instant? Worry not, I understand how the questions came about, as I have been asked numerous times, and I am perfectly sure that some of you understand how I feel. But first, do allow me to briefly explain what is OT.

Basically, Occupational Therapists use activities and various treatment techniques to help individuals with disabilities develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills. For example, for workers who were physically injured, we may use physical therapy techniques to help them recover and return to gainful employment.

To this day, I confess that I am still finding out more about OT every day.

Basically, I picked OT as it is not an entirely Science course, which I dislike, but rather, a mix of the arts and sciences. We learn the the arts-related subjects likes Psychology, and will be learning Sociology this semester. As occupational therapists, we also have to get our hands busy, which I prefer in comparison with sitting at a desk for hours on end. Therefore, I thought, why not try out OT? Even though it was commonly said that the healthcare industry was not an easy line to be in, I took it up as a personal challenge.

As an occupational therapist in training, we learn both the soft and the hard Sciences. Along the way, our lecturers feed us fun and interesting facts! For instance, did you know a doctor has to birth a baby in within two and a half minutes should the placenta separate from the baby in the womb? If not, the baby dies. This was a shock for many of us, as we understood the immensity of the situation, and realized how important health-care is, and the difference it makes in life and death situations.

Are you still wondering why a JC student like me did not proceed on to university level, but instead, went to a polytechnic? This is because after we graduate, we attain exemptions from selected universities who provide us with advanced standing.  After obtaining our diploma certificates, OT diploma graduates will have the opportunity to do a one-year degree conversion program at a university, so basically I will be able to get a degree four years from now.

We had tutorials and lectures in JC, similar to that of a polytechnic, except that tutorials in JC were much more like secondary school classes.

However, polytechnic lectures are more relevant to the working life.

The learning curve in JC was really steep and we had to cope with a multitude of tests, tutorial questions, at the same time forking out time out for CCAs.  Laboratory classes were like that of a secondary school, except that the level of difficulty was higher.

In OT lab sessions here, we have the opportunity to look at cadavers and human anatomy models, and identify the structures. I can say with assurance that laboratory sessions today are more exciting, not to mention challenging, as compared to my JC laboratory sessions!

The main difference is that the JC did not have as many projects as the polytechnic. In JC, we only had to concentrate on one particular project and thus, we had sufficient time to know the entire project in-depth.

Other than studies and projects in poly, we also have graded exhibitions to prepare for. In July, we had two exhibitions to prepare for, both on Wednesday afternoon, over two consecutive weeks. Imagine the stress level we went through those two weeks.

Our hard work – the final exhibition on Dog Grooming for our Activity Analysis project
For our activity analysis project, we had to do an exhibition on dog grooming and its therapeutic benefits. In order to entice customers to our booth, we came up with creative ways and methods to attract people, such as creating origami dogs and giving out snacks. However, we realized that the other booths also had similar ideas, and at the end of the day, everyone had leftover sweets to pass around!

Our cute origami dogs which served as decorations for our booth
 A closer look at the board
Polytechnic, to sum up, has been wholly different. While lectures and tutorial sessions are not new to me, polytechnic classes are definitely more fun. I had a creativity module, where we were required to act out a drama scene and write our own script. Also, the polytechnic has many more facilities than the JC. There are even lifts for students! Though waiting for the lift to arrive can be excruciating at times.

School life is not all about studying! The past few months, we’ve had a few events organized for us, and even though we had to stay back late for them, I have to say that it was well worth our time. You can never say no to hilarious skits!


Of  the  numerous events we had to participate in, the most recent was Nurses Day which was celebrated on the 31st of July, we had fun joining in this event for our sister profession. There were fun competitions, such as the Fashion Parade, and we were also serenaded by the melodious voices of our fellow health science schoolmates.
Contestants of the Nurses Day Fashion Parade
I would like to sum up by reiterating that one should not compare JC to polytechnic; it is akin to comparing apples to oranges. Both education systems do have their merits, and it depends on which system better suits an individual’s learning needs.

I have been rewarded tremendously from both education systems, and I wish to further my learning with NYP. I certainly look forward to my new adventure over here.


Written by Tania Tay, Year 1, Diploma in Occupational Therapy
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Tania is a Year 1 Occupational Therapy student who has a rabbit and loves it very much. She also likes cats and used to play with the resident cats in her Junior College frequently. She likes reading books and manga (Japanese comics) in her free time.

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