Tuesday, December 20, 2016

From Lost to Found

When the going gets tough, the tough gets tougher but no matter what, it won’t bring Edsel Li Zhenhao down!

Months after graduating from Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) with a respectable Grade Point Average (GPA) score, Edsel Li can look back at his topsy-turvy days of his life with a smile, and give himself a congratulatory pat.

It was only some years ago that he was at his low point and could not understand what his teachers were trying to teach and failed all his subjects. He was at a loss on whether to continue his studies at the Institute of Technical Education. And his mum and brothers were worried about him all the time.

Thanks to a couple of life’s difficult moments, such as not getting paid for work done by errant employers, he realised that education is the stepping stone to a good future. He re-enrolled into ITE, found a bunch of hardworking buddies and graduated with an excellent GPA of 3.9.

NYP may not be his first choice but he says it’s a “blessing in disguise”. Not only did he excel academically but he also morphed into an individual who firmly believes in “passing it on” for all the goodness that he has received. It was also in NYP that he found his calling for mentoring.

The Diploma in Business Management graduate joined the NYP Mentoring Club in his first year because he thought it would not take up much time. By the third year, he found himself spending more time mentoring than anything else, and doing it voluntarily! He was so engaged with the Club that eventually he became its President. Through his leadership, the Club grew close to 50 members, many times more than the 10 members when he first joined.

Today, the Club regularly mentors weaker students in NYP as well as those in secondary schools. Besides giving tuition in subjects like Maths and English, the members also lend a listening ear to other issues that the mentees have at home or in schools. They may not be able to solve all the problems but would point them to agencies or people who could help them.

NYP has given Edsel many memorable moments - from caring and knowledgeable lecturers to an eye-opening internship with an international firm. He remembers fondly chilling out in his favourite study area at the Library on Level 5, and filling his stomach with relatively cheap and tasty yong tau fu from Koufu Foodcourt.

Now serving national service, Edsel, who comes from a single-parent family, hopes to pursue an Earn and Learn programme in the human resource sector before getting a degree. He is also considering getting a scholarship to study social work in the National University of Singapore and become a social worker thereafter.

Whatever he endeavours to do next, he promises himself to give his best. With NYP, he has achieved his best.

Because We Can

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