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Beyond a Story: 2020 - I finally got accepted into NTU after 7 rejections in 8 years

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Life unveils the limitless possibilities. It has knocked me down a few times, swayed me from my dreams a few times and shown me things which I never wanted to see. I have experienced failures and rejections, but one thing for sure, I get up every time; with more wisdom, strength and certainly much stronger, than before.

TL;DR: I was rejected by NTU/NIE for 7 times, and I finally made it on my 8th attempt - this time for Masters - NTU's Masters in Translation. The bonus is - I am also one of the six recipients who are awarded the Translation Talent Development Scheme (TTDS) by Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) this year.


Disclaimer: I wrote this post on 10 October 2020, to record down how I started in the first place - my motivations to pursue my dreams. This post shall serve as a reminder for myself in the coming years ahead; encourage myself to keep going when things get tougher, and to overcome any challenges, rise up stronger despite feeling down and defeated. I am blessed. Currently in one of my dream jobs - working in Singapore Chinese Orchestra - something which I longed for since I was growing up, and soon heading to my dream school - Nanyang Technological University. The journey there hasn't been easy, but I am working hard, striving to learn and grow every single day. I started working at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) when I was 22 years old, right after graduation. I think many people were shocked because I was one of the youngest journalists back then (Or am I still one of the record holders?). 2019 gave me courage to pursue one of my dream jobs, and so I left SPH after 3 exciting and fulfilling years.

Picture taken in Singapore Press Holdings.

To be honest, settling into my new job has been difficult, but I count my blessings, because this decision brought me closer back to Chinese orchestral (CO) music. As the youngest staff in the company once again, I achieved many little milestones at workplace, contributing positively to the arts and culture industry; celebrated 18 years in CO.

And with much encouragements from loved ones, I went ahead to apply for Masters - something which I wanted to do since I graduated from University in 2016.

It hasn't been an easy decision.

Since I graduated from Jurong Junior College in 2011, I was rejected by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) / National Institute of Education (NIE) for at least 7 times. These seven rejections which I could recall, included my many attempts to enrol for Degree courses in NTU and NIE, and also NIE's Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma in Education.

Friends who have known me since Secondary School would have known that I aspired to become a Chinese teacher since Primary one, but I guess life had other plans for me. The closest which I did was probably relief teaching at my Primary School for 3 years, where I worked and studied full-time but enjoyed every single moment.

And yes, my friends reminded me that this "NTU/NIE - reject" for 7 times, finally made it through on her 8th attempt - this time for Masters - NTU's Masters in Translation.

Picture taken at the road junction leading into NTU.

Despite taking the longer route filled with more challenges along the way, it mattered more that I got to the finish line and achieved my goal, isn't it?

Although I am still far from being a teacher, but at least I FINALLY made it into my dream school - NTU School of Humanities, after graduating from a "Private" University. I have to admit that I lost all hopes of getting into NTU, after all these years.

The bonus probably came as a surprise. I am also one of the six recipients awarded the Translation Talent Development Scheme (TTDS) by Ministry of Communications and Information this year. Never expected myself to apply for this grant and even got through the three-panelist bilingual interview, making it this far.

I genuinely hope that I can do my part for the arts and translation community. I believe that all my years growing up with the arts will continue to fuel this passion. My JC days in the Chinese Language Elective Programme has laid a strong foundation, and my University days studying a double major in Communications and Public Relations has indeed inspired me to go further and beyond.

让我记录一下这一刻,加油加油 || It’s been a long week. Just ended work and saw this post being shared on social media. Not an easy journey, but still working hard. (reposted this on 23 October 2020, 11pm)

Full-time work and Full-time studies will be challenging, but it's going to be rewarding, enriching and hardly ordinary. I will forge ahead, strive to be stronger, wiser and better.

As I was typing this post, I pondered over the reasons to why I needed to explain these life episodes to anyone and how would this story even matter to any persons?

However, I was certain that I was writing this for myself. This is a recognition of my efforts so far, actually something which I needed to work harder on it. I needed to give more recognition to myself. I am easy on others with my pleases and thank-yous, but I don't always give thanks to myself. And I never knew it takes so much courage to write about my own story, given that I had been writing and recording stories of others - my baby - Beyond a Story project. Also, writing to record down the nerve-wrecking moments too. Sometimes feeling so doubtful and unbelievable at how I managed to survive the stressful online interviews and the incomprehensible tests. And not to mention how I almost fainted during the Health Screening blood test when the nurse had to poke my arms three times to get blood from me. (Now my arm has 3 blue-blacks whooooops) Many many obstacles along the way, but I managed to overcome all of them.

Looking back, yes indeed 2019 has been tough for me, but 2020 hasn't been nice too. So many goals and plans which I had originally planned for, were disrupted due to COVID-19. But I am still very thankful that I strive to remain strong, forge ahead and achieved many breakthroughs this year.


2020 has taught us so much, especially to value: Time, Health, Freedom, Loved ones, Opportunities, Frontline workers and the Present Moment. The list could go on and it's not all been negative. Just like some people have been sharing online during this COVID-19 pandemic, "Think Positive and Stay Negative (for swab tests)".

Updated on 9 January 2021

If you are still reading this sentence, please take your cup or bottle to drink some water, take good care of yourself! :) #selflove

Thank you for taking time to finish reading this post too. Stay happy and healthy ~ And here's sharing a quote which I chanced upon recently, keep going alright! YOU CAN DO IT! <3

To a beautiful start and better days to come!

Loads of gratitude and blessings that my story garnered media attention. It hasn't been an easy journey to begin with and the journey gets even more challenging. Thank you media friends for sharing my story! <3

Updating this article with a published news article which was published on 26 June 2021:

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02 févr. 2021

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