Monday, December 30, 2013

The Medical Wonder

Constance Chen (second from left) at her NYP graduation ceremony in 2009. 
Constance Chen is the first NYP student to be enrolled in the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School via the post-graduate route. While her route was one that was definitely less travelled, the straight As student has never, even in the tiniest moment of her life, regretted studying in a polytechnic. Instead, taking up NYP’s Diploma in Molecular Biotechnology was her life’s greatest decision.

The Singapore Chinese Girls School (SCGS) alumna has an undying passion for life sciences. After her ‘O’ levels, Constance did some research and picked NYP because of the extensive specialisation offered by the School of Chemical & Life Sciences (SCL). SCL also offers many opportunities for industry exposure and opportunities to conduct lab research. These proved all the more valuable to Constance, who made NYP her first choice almost instantaneously.

Constance had immense support from her parents but the next three years of her life in NYP was, in her words, “intense”. In the midst of trawling through piles of projects, presentations and lab reports, Constance still found the time to enjoy her time as a student and she had SCL to thank.

“My lecturers really tried to pique our interest and curiosity in the subject matter,” she said. “They really cared about us, often taking the time to chat with us and keep an eye on our progress.”

Constance graduated with a Diploma with Merit from NYP and   went on to attain a First Class Hons BSc degree from University College London.  When doing her degree, she was given the opportunity to delve deeper into medical science.

She decided that she wanted to be in the medical profession to help others, and  hence, her decision to do the MD programme with the prestigious Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

Transitioning from a polytechnic to university wasn’t that difficult, according to Constance.

“I find that universities are very receptive and welcoming of a graduate with a diploma in molecular biotechnology. I had a solid foundation in life sciences, which eased my transition into university,” she said. “Throughout my entire degree course, I also found myself applying the concepts and knowledge I picked up in NYP, and this head-start made it easier to assimilate new concepts and knowledge.”

Just how does she keep herself on the right track? Constance believes in keeping an eye on her assignments and their deadlines as they help to ensure that she has adequate time to complete her tasks.

She said: “I get more overwhelmed and stressed when I procrastinate too much and do last minute work. I’m also very blessed to have really cooperative and driven group members.”

Currently, Constance finds life in Duke-NUS hectic, but stimulating and enjoyable at the same time. The environment is completely different from her poly days and she is only required to take one module at a time. She also gets the chance to discuss and debate cases with a panel of scientists and doctors in her class and pick up physical examination skills in a simulated environment.

“The school employs a unique teaching methodology where students access resources during their free time. There are very few lectures in school,” she said.  “Rather, classes consist of various quizzes and problem based learning in teams. Teamwork is essential and heavily emphasised, albeit in a different way. Instead of group projects, in Duke-NUS we learn and take assessments together in groups.”

While Constance has made it her life’s plan to continually seek and improve, she will always look back at NYP and remember nothing but fond memories. She advised me to “enjoy NYP while you still can”.

As a senior with weeks left to completing my tertiary education with NYP, I can totally relate.

By Nur Mirrah Amit, Year 3, Diploma in Mass Media Management

Mirrah “reads all the time!”, as her mother had reiterated. She consumes as many as
three books a day in her spare time, and enjoys classics and romance novels by
authors such as Mari Mancusi, CS Lewis, and Sophie Kinsella. She aspires to write for
political science magazines like Time and Newsweek in the future, and also has an
interest in fashion writing.

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