This post is really belated as I’ve been procrastinating to post this up for months! Exactly a year ago, I featured an exclusive interview with my close girlfriend, Kristin, on her decision to walk the less trodden path by taking a sabbatical when she was at the start of her working career. Read about the pre-sabbatical interview here.

Today, armed with an experience of a lifetime, Kristin shares with me her unforgettable experience, as well as  her take on making a relatively career-risky decision. Taking a gap year to travel & do things I love remains as a dream but meeting inspirational people like Kristin definitely gives me the motivation to steer towards that direction. 🙂



Why did you decide to take a sabbatical of 4 months and what have you done during these past 4 months?

Before the sabbatical, I was working at People’s Association as a Constituency Manager, handling grassroots organizations, liaising with the media and organizing events among other matters. It was my first full time job out of university, and when you immerse yourself in the working world for the first time (internships aside), I find that you start learning so much about yourself – about your priorities, your dreams, your boundaries and more.

As time passed, and although there are definitely perks in this job, it became clear to me that I didn’t feel fulfilled with what I was doing and where this path would have led me. However, I also wasn’t sure where I really wanted to go. I once had a conversation with my grandma, and I lamented about why I didn’t seem to like doing anything, unlike people passionate about engineering, computing and science. She studied me for a while, and then replied that it was not because I didn’t like anything, but because I liked doing everything. So what I really needed to do is focus on a few key areas rather than trying out everything and burning out my time and energy.

With that, I decided that if I stayed on in my first job, I would only entrench myself deeper in a job which could not make me happy, both in what I was doing and where I was heading towards. While I am still at an age where it easier for me to change my line of work and while opportunity cost (in terms of job responsibility and compensation) is still relatively lower, this is the best time to kick myself into action by leaving so that it would force me to look for something that would give me greater fulfillment in the rest of my career-life.

At the same time, it was perfect that there were a lot of travel opportunities coming in. Suddenly I felt so free after making my decision, unbounded by the routine of work and time seemed like a plentiful resource. Time was lost over work instead of it being spent on loved ones, but now, I could spend it on them once again. So we made plans to spend it, not just together at home, but on holidays so that we could experience each other’s companies over a wonderful trip. I had my apprehension about not being able to find a job if I took the time to travel. However, it made sense not to rush into a job but to use this time to explore my interests and find myself so that I could come back from my travels knowing what I wanted to do.

Over the four months of my break, I became a serial traveller, exploring the dense jungles and majestic hidden temples of Cambodia, flying all the way to the other end to Peru eating the strangest but really delicious delicacies, walking spiritual routes up the mountains, admiring the breathtaking views of Machu Picchu, hitting my bucket list visiting the Galapagos Islands, taking a romantic trip down south to Brisbane and a crazy shopping trip in California.

I also think it is important to keep on learning and improving. So I continued on with my basic interior design certification from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), finally got my driving license, took on personal Photoshop projects, took on a 2-day event management crash course and ran my half marathon. In between, my close friends have been extremely supportive as well. When I was back home in Singapore, I met up with those I have been losing touch with, exchanged ideas and talking about our futures, having conversations that can impact some huge decisions.

Just those 4 months alone have really been one of the best experiences I ever had, and it will be something I will remember for life.


What are some of the most memorable times that you have had during the career break? 

The Galapagos
The place I wanted to go for since almost a decade ago! To get to come here was insanely awesome. I used to read books on dinosaurs, animals, evolution and the like when I was a child, and this topic was always something that interested me. So to find out that Charles Darwin was inspired to come up with the Theory of Evolution from these islands made me want to come and see this place for myself.

I was elated to set foot to this place. The simple airport was surrounded by a desert-like landscape – sandy, yellow and filled with cacti. Yet, it actually grew some sort of hay-like grass everywhere. Beautifully strange!

The first sign of any animals were the lazy sealions (my first time seeing seeing sealions in the wild!!) all lying languidly on the horizontal beams of the port where we waited for our dingies to bring us to our ferry. Sometime in the evening, our ferry was trailed by a flock of frigate birds, which looked like a group of huge batman signs soaring in formation behind us. What followed as the days went by were awesome sightings of punk-looking swimming marine iguanas, land iguanas the size of your average dogs, giant sea turtles, diving birds with the most queer sky-blue feet, baby penguins which we surprised to see just living at the equator and  short -winged flightless cormorants. My brother even had a baby sealion follow him all the way up a little hill. Really cute!!

The Galapagos is made up of a few islands. So every island also came with its own scenery, all diversifying in its own way to adapt to the different tides and temperatures. One looked like we landed on the moon, with the whole island black and cracked with crevasses with a gigantic volcano in the middle. Another had a martian landscape, with red sand and light lava rocks the size of a basketball. The giant turtles lived in the one which was overgrown with mangroves, swimming about a metre deep and munching on the moss growing on the mangrove roots.

When you ask people where are the types of places they love travelling to, some may answer places with a rich culture, a great view, yummy food, much shopping options.. For me, my answer’s a place with wild animals. Absolutely loved Galapagos. My next bucketlist place is the safaris in Africa. But since I need to save up, perhaps I’ll go see the orangutans in Borneo first.

Cuzco
We took a spiritual tour to Cuzco,  a gorgeous and ancient city atop the Peru mountains, led by the local hispanic (half-Spanish half-Peruvian) guides and shaman. They were extremely friendly (and the guides were hot!), bringing us around to all the sacred Incan sites and teaching us how the Incans used to carry out their rituals. Although we cannot share the exact details, I am impressed with all their spiritual wisdom. Many of the old Incan structures still remained in Cuzco, including their houses, drainage systems, fields of corn and huge religious monuments.

3. Lake Titicaca
4. Passion Talk
5. Toastmasters

Do share some of the interesting experiences that you had encountered during your trips?

1) Swimming next to a sealion
2) Trapped in a Cambodian cinema
3) Nazca Lines
4) The night on the island in the lake
5) The 2 Travelling Girls

What do you think are the biggest challenges/hardest times for you during the career break?

Judgment
The biggest challenge for me was facing people. After I came back from my trip and started officially looking for another job, 4 months had already passed. There were people who began to question what I was doing, telling me straight to my face that it was “very bad” that I couldn’t find a job, asking why I couldn’t find a job after so long and wondered out loud if it was because I wasn’t of good calibre.

People in general, especially the older generation, tend to think that at this age, doing anything that isn’t work means that you are lazy, useless, irresponsible, lousy, unfocused, and the list goes on. The more they say or imply it, it really can get quite damaging for the morale. So, the more I had to be stronger, because I knew that I had something bigger that I want to achieve by doing this.

Opinions
Although many people were helpful and we kept talking about our future career goals, what follows is really choice overload. Everybody throws out so many suggestions, which is great because it is always good to know more. However, every possible next career has it’s pros and cons which everybody discusses as well, making every choice seem good and bad at the same time. I found it extremely difficult at first, because I realized that all my thoughts on all my options came from everybody so, how could I possibly sieve out the thoughts that truly belonged to me to make a decision that not everybody wants me to make, but rather, the decision that mattered the most to me?

Cashflow
This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever had a negative cashflow on my bank account. I’ve been taught from young to always save, and from there, I somehow developed some sort of synesthesia perhaps? Having money constantly depleting feels so painful, like a dagger stabbing my chest. Yes, drama, I know, but I do feel that! I have now completely stopped shopping for anything and only spend on meals when meeting friends.

Time Management
Without a routine, matters like how can you effectively make use of your time start to eat you up. It is just too easy to slip into Facebooking, chatting with my family members, doing useful but unimportant matters like packing my room and simply unimportant matters like watching television. Plus these are things that I would have still been able to accomplish even if I were working. So I wondered where my productive hours flew. When I did use up my time in my day like that, I really felt useless and unproductive – time slipped away just too fast, and I would feel angry with myself at the end of the day.

It didn’t help that I intended to use the time to practice a skill like Photoshop/video making/app programming, but I would start feeling guilty when I did not use the time to apply for jobs. And when I did use the time to apply for jobs, I would get annoyed with myself for not using the time to hone my skills.

Many people would love to embark on the amazing journey that you have recently did but they would come up with an endless list of reasons not to, e.g. I wish I could take a break like you but I have no money/no time/etc. What are some pieces of advice that you would give them?

1) Don’t jump into it until you know you can take the consequences
2) Have a backup financial plan
3) Cost of staying put is greater than cost of change
4) Understand what is a day well spent to you

What have you learnt at the end of the day?

1) There is so much beauty in this world waiting to be discovered. So knowing that  our time is limited here as well, time must always be set aside to get out and discover (not just overseas but even within where we are).

2) (Over the spiritual tour in Cuzco) To love is to nurture, grow, give attention to and protect. It is a combination of action, care and effort. In life, we need to be conscious of the things we love, and that is a great way of deciding where our paths should lead and where our effort should be placed.

3) Knowing what is important is so important. Days can be lost so quickly in the midst of distractions. And days were so unsatisfying-ly spent when I lost track of what I had to do, which made me feel unproductive the whole day. I also reflected on work, and realized that if the work you are doing is something that you don’t really like, you have lost a day wasting it over something that didn’t help in appreciating life.

4) I’ve learnt to be stronger because all the challenges faced are matters which I once couldn’t handle. Especially not if they all came together. However, I’ve learnt how to strategize and do quick pick-me-ups so at least even if I am beaten by these challenges, I won’t stay down for too long.

5) My personal learning for my direction is that I wanted to do something creative, get some achievements in my career, and yet have enough time for my family and friends. This was after having a good think with so much beautiful scenery, over conversations with friends and over the courses that I attended. So it’s now looking like a marketing job with a good work-life balance.


How are things getting along for you now that you are back “to reality” and in the job hunt?

At the moment, things are a fine balance. All the challenges mentioned earlier are still looming, though handled slightly better now. However, I’m glad that things are moving for me too.

Career
I realize that it isn’t easy to get a job again because for one, taking a career break doesn’t look too good on my resume. Grades are not really on my side either, so I’m banking on my one year’s experience plus CCA experience in event management to land me another position.  Most of my free time now is taken up by job-hunting (and my new found addiction, pinterest).

At the same time, I decided to take the time to do some volunteer work and hone my marketing skills. I was very happy to find Halogen Foundation, a voluntary body that aims to instill leadership qualities in youth. I liked their cause and all the exciting events that they have been coming up with. So I approached them to ask how I could volunteer. After a while, they offered me a flexi-time internship with them, so now I feel like I’m really learning quite a bit doing social media content and campaigns, and researching on interesting fundraising techniques.

* Note: Kristin is now working as a marketing executive at a local company.

Self-Improvement
From this break, I really could take the time to concentrate in Interior Design (I passed!) and driving (also passed!!). Other than that, I went for a few courses to pick up more skills including a two day crash course on “How to Plan Any Event” and a quick course on “How to Find Work you’re Passionate About”. Been back at Singapore, I have also been following a stricter exercise routine with more time in the evening (as opposed to being back at 10pm on some nights due to my earlier shift-work).

I have also all along wanted to be good at Photoshop, so this free time worked out well for me. At times, I’ll try out small design projects for myself, drowning myself in Photoshop youtube videos to suss out techniques to complete what I wanted to do. From a complete noob, I am no expert yet, but I feel more confident of using Photoshop to at least do out a decent piece of work. This 2012, I also finally gathered the courage to join Toastmasters. I have already participated in my first round of Spontaneous Speech (better known by Toastmasters as Table Topics), and won my first speech along with two others! I’m hoping that this would develop my communication skills for my hopefully-future stint in a marketing career.

People: Family and Social Circles
Things are actually going pretty well with my family. It’s great that I get to see everyone so often now as compared to when I was working/schooling previously. My grandmother is always especially happy to have me around at home, and we’d always have longer and better chats now. A more morbid fact, but I know that time is against her as well. So, to be able to spend more time with her is really time that is very precious to me.

It is going two ways with this. I am both meeting up more and meeting up less with friends. Now, given more time, it seems so much easier to meet up with people, especially since I can look for them over lunch. However, much as I try to handle my emotions over this somewhat-trying period, I still get into my “I am not good enough” mood at times. It feels like, to have a job, you’re wanted by a company, and to not have a job means that you’re unwanted. Of course, that isn’t necessarily true but thoughts like these do play in your head. As such, when I meet friends and these thoughts well up inside, I always have to fight an internal battle and give myself internal prep talks to be able to quit comparing and just enjoy their company.

Armed with a business degree from 1 of the most prestigious university in Singapore (SMU), Kristin looks set for a bright future. Indeed, within months of her graduation, the capable girl managed to land herself a managerial position with the People’s Association where she was tasked to work closely with the grassroots organizations to plan community events, produce advertising materials and follow up on community feedback. However, a year into the working world, it hit upon Kristin that the job wasn’t her cup of tea and that she wasn’t getting any job satisfaction out of it. With only courage to spare, she made the biggest decision of her life by taking the route that most of her peers would have never even thought of – A career break to live life!

What are the factors that have spurred you to venture out of your comfort zone to take a short career break? 

Over the last few months, putting it as diplomatically as possible, the cons of work gradually outweighed the pros. Many changes occurred, including how staff were treated, how we were supposed to do our work, and even our physical workspaces. It made me think about things, and I realize, not only was I not happy with the changes, I was not happy with the type of work I was doing because I wanted to work on more creative areas! Fleeting thoughts of leaving suddenly just came and went, and these thoughts grew stronger.

 It helped very much that I had very strong support from those close to me. My mum suddenly got excited, insisting that we should take a family holiday once I quit; my boyfriend was thrilled that I would suddenly have freed up so much extra time to invest in learning more about what I wanted, and friends encouraged me, saying that I should chase after what I really want. That, plus it would have been terrible had I continued to stay on at my current job due to procrastination to find jobs, and look back at this point in 10 years time wishing that I should have left the place to fight for what I wanted when I had the chance.

Fear of not being able to find a job after a career break is 1 of the main reasons that stops people from taking a sabbatical. As such, how are you able to convince yourself to overcome this challenge?

Even up to this point, after making the decision to leave the job quite some time ago, I still am feeling rather fearful of not being hired. However, there are still some things that keep me positive about getting a job after this period. Age, for one, is on my side (I hope!). I graduated a year ago, and am extremely keen to learn and explore. As such, I am very willing to start over again doing a fresh graduate job with an equivalent pay. I think fresh graduates are decently in demand now, and I am a graduate willing to accept a pay cut, and with a year’s experience of work! So I am hedging that this would put me in good light to start anew. I am also currently keeping my eyes open for marketing jobs. Having friends working in the industry, they have been really helpful so far in updating me with companies hiring and those which offer relevant job scopes to what I am looking for and can contribute to. These constant updates are also another area which could significantly aid my job hunt.

Some people take a sabbatical to travel around the globe, while others take this opportunity to pursue a hobby (e.g. photography/cooking/freelance writing). What are your plans for your extended time off?

I plan to take at least 4 months off (September 2011 – December 2011) following this job, and am really excited to finally have a taste of life once more outside work! After coming back from Exchange in Sweden, I happen to suffer a serious case of wanderlust. As such, I have a series of 5 continents of travels lined up over these 4 months! In this order – Cambodia, Peru, Galapagos Islands, Holland, Brisbane, Los Angeles and Las Vegas! Am looking forward to all of these trips, but am particularly excited with the trip to South America! Besides visiting Machu Picchu which I never thought I would even go to within the decade, I get to visit Galapagos, which I always wanted to go to as a child. Ever being the geek, Galapagos caught my attention at that age due to it’s diversity of strange and unique animals and because it was the place where Charles Darwin discovered evolution. I also wanted to take this time off to develop myself.

Over doing marketing courses in university, and various event planning for my CCAs, I realized that I really enjoy creating – thinking of event themes, designing posters, writing taglines that capture an idea or feeling, even doing out presentation slides! I am not very good at it (as compared to my brilliant friends), but I really do like it. Overseas, I have taken the opportunity to apply some basic but technical ideas of photography into my pictures (like aperture priority!).

Other days when I am in Singapore, I am immersing myself in Interior Design classes at NAFA, dabbling in Adobe Photoshop, and on the to-do list are Infographic Design, submitting Eyeka Asia (a site that opens up competitions for designers) and Threadless T-shirt entries and iPhone Programming.

How do you face up to the criticism from others who feel that we should take advantage of our youth and drive to climb the corporate ladder instead of taking the time to discover more about ourselves and identity?

Wow, this question stumped me because there’s so much to it! Regarding this, I think that everyone should aspire to balance both career progression and self-discovery. The thing with this this criticism is that, if everyone focuses too much on climbing the corporate ladder and neglects time to invest in finding out more about themselves, it becomes scary because, how much have they actually grown as a person? Yes, perhaps after some years, they get more responsibilities, they get higher salaries and more power. But what if what they are doing does not bring them happiness?  Or what if they lose themselves like clockwork to just become a tiny little part in the grand scheme of things, and they don’t know what they’re doing anymore or why exactly are they doing it? I see many people slogging their lives away unhappily, wishing their day would end, and multiplying the same misery and dread over many years in exchange for security and money. But is it worth such a trade?

On the other hand, to plunge into discovering more about ourselves and identity over these youthful years instead of moving up the rungs of the corporate ladder does come with its own set of problems too. It is a good argument, this wastage of youth and drive. I believe that people derive happiness from many different places – one of which is success over something you have put in effort to finishing. It could be success in finishing a marathon, finishing baking a cake or finishing a project. An eternal search of self-discovery may help in understanding yourself more and gaining stronger direction in where you are heading. However, I also think it would be a waste if this search denies you in finishing something, which is something that climbing up one’s career can provide. To make use of youth and drive to it’s fullest potential to deliver an accolade of achievements (many finishes) over one’s life would also be ideal.
Hence, I think that the best mix would be to have a job that you know why you are in it, and that the reason that you are in it fuels your appetite for life to grow and discover into a better person. Pity, easier said than done.At least to me, the break for self-discovery still makes sense because without this exploration towards what I want to do, I may be using my youth and drive to climb the wrong corporate ladder and get myself high up to somewhere I didn’t even want to be. I’d rather take a longer time to find the right ladder than take a quicker time to waste my life scaling the wrong one.

Once upon a time, there were 2 ladies who wanted to break free from the bird cage to seek for fulfillment and freedom in life. Taking it one step at a time, the girls – Tay & Val – have successfully managed to spread the inspirational message that dreams can come true across the following countries – From Singapore to Japan to Guatemala. Just like most of us, they had nothing and started their 1.5yrs long journey (as of now) around the world with nothing. However, along the way, they managed to secure sponsorship from various companies, organized an exhibition in Japan, scored many interviews with the foreign media and of course, inspired many nationalities to participate in this community project to share their dreams with the rest of the world. The difference that lies between the girls and the rest of us who are still dreaming? Their determination to set off on a dream project to inspire and share while they are still young and relatively freed of heavy commitments. In fact, the girls’ courage to step out of their comfort zone and live a life that they truly want played a huge factor in inspiring me to start this blog – A collection of dreams from people I know, admire and love.

One dream shared, another gets inspired 

To express their gratitude towards everyone who had supported them in 1 way or another, Tay & Val decided to invite a few of us to preview their first short online film, “LISTEN” – A movie that was shot without a single cent but with lots of support and encouragement from the community. I have been very fortunate to be able to take a sneak peek into this short movie that aims to remind us to take a good moment to ignore the noise and judgmental views that we often face and truly listen to our heart and return to our intentions.


1. Tay & Val – Please introduce yourselves to us!
Tay: I am a 33 year-old woman learning to live my truth everyday, learning to dream intensely every moment and learning to love my life every second.

Val:  我有一个梦。就是让小小的我,在大大的银幕上,和观众一起体验、感 受”生命”。I am a spirit endeavoring to live each moment intensely, vicariously; on-screen or otherwise, so that people around also give themselves the permission to enjoy their moments, to savour their emotions, to truly live. And I like to have fun while doing that. Having fun is very, very, VERY important to me. 😉


2. What are the strongest motivational factors that have inspired the both of you to take the less-trodden path to abandon your safe and stable jobs to travel around the world to inspire others? 

We always say it was Luo Papa who inspired this journey.  In reality, Luo Papa’s dream opened a door of opportunity for us.  His ability to live his dreams all his life allowed us to see the possibility of a dream come true for ourselves.  And at the end of the day, we ourselves have to take that leap of faith to jump through that door of opportunity which was opened for us.  I (Tay) remembered there was one night Val sat in front of me and asked me one question straight in my face, “I want you to forget about the ‘Hows’ for just this moment and answer me honestly, DO YOU WANT TO DO IT OR NOT?”  I had to be honest, I want to.  Deep within my heart, I couldn’t lie to myself, I WANT to.  We both know that ‘There is no fear that is greater than missing out what lies ahead of you.”  We know if we do not take this leap of faith, we will look back and regret it for the rest of our lives.  So, we jumped.


3. What are some of the most memorable highlights of your journey so far?

That is a tough question to answer because every moment is an unforgettable moment, both the ups and the downs.  People always ask us ‘what is our favorite country on our journey so far?’  And we will always answer: None.  We remember a place because of its people.  Likewise, all the unforgettable moments on this journey are with the people we met.  To this day, we still marvel at how is it even possible that we don’t own a single thing that we wear, use, eat, etc.  How is it possible that we have not spent a single cent on a place to sleep for a single night for all 465 days of this journey so far.  And it was made possible by all the people we meet on our journey, all the people we meet online, all the people who come to our sharing sessions.  And all because ‘everyone has a dream’.  All these people who opened their houses and opened their hearts to share their homes with us, their meals with us, their lives with us, their dreams with us, they make up the unforgettable moments of our lives.

“I would like the Pigeonhole to be a place where people can curl up on a sofa, hang out, feel at ease, read a book, have a drink, and escape from whoever or whatever is taking a toll on their mental health. I would like us to be a safe space for expression, while at the same time also be a safe space for those who don’t feel like expressing themselves at all. Perhaps in a way I am trying to mould the Pigeonhole into my own definition of home. And in my home, there is a time for quietness and a time for activity; a time for white and a time for black.”

– Ave & Rayner –

Original blog post: I believe that dreams can come true

How about
Being honest
Being truthful
Being authentic

To yourself
For once?

What do you want to be when you grow up?


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How many of us know that?
How many of us can answer this truthfully?

That day
The children’s authenticity shamed me
Greatly

Because even as a kid, I could never truly be honest about my dreams. Whenever it was time to write the annual “What do you want to be when you grow up?” essay; I’d write wonderful A+ essays on being a teacher, a doctor… because those were things adults (my teachers grading the essay, my parents reading the essay) would want to hear.

At the age of 5, when I won my first art competition and declared that I wanted to be a painter; I was already taught to be “politically correct”. “Nobody makes a successful living out of painting. Painters only become famous after they die. There has not been a single Singaporean painter who has had paintings sold all over the world.” Therefore, “You are better off being a teacher, a doctor, an engineer, a manager… And when you have earned enough money, then you can do the things you really like.”

So I learnt. It didn’t matter if I like going for art classes, ballet classes, speech and drama classes better than going to school. It didn’t matter if I’d rather be singing and dancing to my Dad’s cassettes than memorizing my 6 times table. Because I am only allowed to do the things I really like, after I’ve earned enough money. And to earn enough money, I have to work hard and do the things I don’t like so much.

So when it came to choosing subjects for school, I chose triple science over art, because it was the “hardest” and it was “the path” to medicine. By then, I’ve become so good at lying about who I’d wanted to be and what I’d wanted to do, that even I believed that I was going to be some white-collared professional earning big fat paychecks when I grow up.

And then “I Believe That Dreams Can Come True” happened
And then we got sent to an English learning center in Taiwan
And then we found ourselves surrounded by kids who have no fears
No concepts of failure, of impossibilities, of “political correctness”

Kids who’d openly, truthfully, authentically share their dreams
In a room full of adults (their teachers and their parents)
In front of 2 strangers they’ve just met
In front of the camera

Forget about the all-inspiring
“What if you could let yourself dream like a kid?”
Like a kid who truly believed that
We can do anything
We can be anyone

– I Believe that Dreams Can Come True –

 


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My husband and I have a deal, the next time we go back to India we would adopt a village and provide foot wear for everyone there. In India, especially in the villages, a lot of people cannot afford to buy a decent pair of sandals … so that’s our next mission. Actually, I was planning to make a website and get people to donate etc but before that, I want to try it out first and see if it will work out well.

– Kumari –
An assistant teacher


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Since young, i’ve been wanting to be a scientist! Always inspired by inventions and want to have my own inventions. I place high hopes on myself, aiming to be a scientist someday…

But sometimes, winds do change directions, didnt do so well for A levels, and serving NS, Local Uni rejected my applications. However my current university accepted me in sports science degree. With that I went out to look for jobs relating to this area to gain working experience. whatever doors are open(even not related), i’ll just walk in and explore.

Opportunities came and I took every one of it. Some people do give not so nice comments on what im studying, but I believed in myself. As time past, im now have the opportunity to work as a Research Assistant in this area. Never expected back then when i got my A levels results. As of now, im still furthering my studies, hoping to be even more specialised in the field of my interest-rehabilitation, to help people in hospitals.

Dont think that you can fly just by flapping your arms, but believe in yourself and invent an aeroplane. The sea is broad, got to sail out to look for other shores, by staying on shore, you will never get out of “pulau comfort” and nv know whats out there for you. Yes sometimes you might not find a land, or the land has been fully populated, but its the experience that you gain out there which can nv be gained by staying onshore. At least now you know more.
and with this experience, you can venture out even further to look for the land of “your own”=)

– Tom –
A volunteer with RDA


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If I had a big goal in life, it’s to be able to focus on issues and work that keeps me motivated (AKA my purpose on the surface of this planet), and then hopefully making a difference. For now at age 25, it probably starts with understanding people, cultures and places, all at the same time being able to pay the bills. It might just end up being more fulfilling than a life of simply eat, sleep, work, consume, reproduce.

– Koey
blogger at Letters From The Porch


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My dream is to make a difference in the fashion industry in Singapore, to have our countrymen be proud and supportive of Singaporean-born labels.

. Velda .
Co-owner of Love Bonito


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I had a dream – to show the world the beautiful colors of emotions on the big movie screen of life.”
Along the way…
I danced my first self-choreographed dance in front of the entire school and dreamt of being a dancer.
I joined singing schools and dreamt of being a singer.
I was scouted by producers, did acting, and dreamt of being an actor.
I started writing songs, recorded them, and dreamt of being a composer.

I spent my last university term on an exchange program in Shanghai, so that I could get away from the rat race of jobs application blah bloo blah, and really think about what I want to do with my life. I was thinking, after realizing everyone else’s dream for me; perhaps…just perhaps, it’s time for me to do something about my own dream. By that time, I had neatly summed up my dream –
To become an all-rounded artiste, who can sing, dance, act and compose. I’d paint emotions and stories with my voice, my craft.


– Val –
co-founder of I believe that dreams can come true

Plant A Dream

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