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Choosing the right course after receiving your 'O' level results

Chung Cheng High (Yishun)

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Feeling clueless on what school to go with your 'O' level results? This one's for you.

Take this piece of advice from an 'O' level "veteran": it's going to be okay.

Holding your result slip in hand, you felt your heart thrusting against your ribs, as if it longed to be free. You dared not take more than a peep at the destiny-defining number you now held. You might have been elated. You might have been devastated.

Now that you have received your GCE 'O' level grades, the next thought that dominates your mind could be: "What's next?"

I can vividly recall being the typical confused teen upon receiving my results. I was certain what I did not want — maths and sciences — but I had no idea what I wanted.

Secondary school
My secondary school self (right) felt too young to decide what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

For your next six days, time will feel like a ticking bomb. Whether your grades are desirable or not, you have to get over the whirlpool of emotions and start deciding what you want to do for the next two to three years of your life.

While your first instinct may be to do all the research about every available course, my advice is for you is to first find out more about yourself. 

What do you like to do? What are you good at doing? Are you better at studying for exams or hands-on assignments?

There may be times when you feel like a jack of no (note: not all) trades, and definitely a master of none. But think harder! Your forte could be a subject in school, or a sport, an art formcomputer games, or even managing your aesthetic Instagram feed.

From there, you can pick out a few courses you are interested in. For instance, I identified writing as one of my coping mechanisms, so I went ahead to shortlist creative writing and communication courses.

Sports
This is me (second from left) being a spectator at sports day, as always. No to sports courses, then!

Now that you have discovered your passion, let me drop you another thought: practicality. Be clear about what you want to get out of your next two to three years of education.

If your goal is to set up your own business and swim in millions of dollars, you would not want to see yourself in a theatre course. Meanwhile, if you have the financial means to support yourself to pursue a superstar career, why waste your time in an accounting course? If all you want is to secure yourself a spot in a local university, then junior college might be the answer.

My head was spinning from the number of choices I had and it did not help that everybody I consulted gave me different advice.

If you relate to that, remember that you are the one who knows yourself best and you have to be the one to make the decision for yourself.

Polytechnic
Here I am (in the gown on the right), graduating from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's Mass Communication course with absolutely no regrets.
PHOTO CREDITS: YOUTH.SG/ANGELA OUYANG

Many of my friends from junior college endured two good years of stressful studying, and are now happily enrolled in their dream universities.

As a polytechnic student, I had my fair share of sleepless nights completing projects and assignments too. Though we may take a longer route to university, polytechnic students gain the advantage of already knowing the skillsets needed.

Whatever you choose, I am sure it will lead you to the path of a brand new experience made for you. So take my initial advice – remember that it will be okay – and make your next few years a fruitful time and slay!

BANNER AND TEASER CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/ANGELA OUYANG