Monday, March 21, 2016

Working towards a Socially Inclusive Society

Meet Cassandra Chia, a Year 3 Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work) student. After gaining some basic understanding about the course through NYP’s Open House, Cassandra felt that it suited her personality and decided to enrol in the programme.

“I always knew I wanted to work with people as I think human connection is important. I think being able to interact with, develop empathy towards, and put myself in the shoes of diverse individuals is both humbling and meaningful,” she said.

What Cassandra did not realise then, was that what she was going to learn from the course would actually impact her in her personal journey of discovering herself.

The course provided Cassandra with the knowledge and skills in areas such as basic counselling, group work facilitation, programmes and events management, introduction to sociology and psychology, and taught her how to work with elderly, children, youths, families and people with disabilities/special needs.

Thus she learnt to better understand and apply relevant social work skills to handling people from diverse or marginalized backgrounds.

As Cassandra was often labelled quirky and “offbeat” by her peers, she quickly discovered she could use that to her advantage. The knowledge she acquired from the course has also helped her to make better sense of her thoughts, and thus led her to setting up a blog called Offbeat Perspectives when she was in her second year in NYP.

The site was  initially geared towards promoting the local independent art scene since Cassandra enjoyed analyzing themes and structures of interesting or relatable films, and music. But soon it shifted focus toward broader topics like the general election, alternative issues, media landscape, social issues, and sexuality.

Cassandra is not embarrassed to openly ask questions, or discuss on socially-taboo topics, and her website has given her an avenue to organize and communicate her observations and ideological beliefs. She hopes to get people to think more unconventionally when they read her blog.

Their site also features interviews with Singaporeans who pursue their unique passions, as well as in-depth interviews with individuals who are socially unaccepted.

“When we build up a diverse and balanced insight towards various matters, it will allow the society at large to become more open, understanding and inclusive,” said Cassandra.

Screenshot of Cassandra’s blog
Like many other students in their final year, Cassandra is going to graduate this year. As we have witnessed in her personal journey, she has acquired the skills to better understand and express herself, which also brought about the creation of her insightful blog.

If you are undecided in life, her story reminds us to press on and be open to what our life choices have to offer.

We wish Cassandra all the very best in her future!

By Matthew Tan Ser Yung, Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work)

Matthew is 20 and pursuing his Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work) at NYP. He may have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a judo competition and may have lost his hopes of becoming a judo champion,  but he has found new passion and interest in writing. He is happy to share how he feels and thinks, and hopes to encourage his readers with his writing.