Five students share why they are optimistic about life after university
Though graduating can be scary, it doesn’t have to be.
Many undergraduates worry about their future, especially now that they’re graduating amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, most of the youth surveyed by TODAY last year said they have become less sociable and more fearful.
The stresses of job hunting, final year projects, and leaving the safe confines of campus can also exacerbate these anxieties, making ‘adulting’ an even more dreaded reality they don’t look forward to.
But for these five youths interviewed by Youthopia, graduating means more than just submitting resumes and going for job interviews. Despite the uncertainty of leaving school, they are excited to start their foray into adulthood.
For 22 year-old Nursarah Safari, leaving school means taking a break from the hustle and bustle of university life. An outstanding student who impressed her professors and peers with her research assignments, her post-university plans decidedly deviate from her classmates’ goal of attending graduate school.
Sarah, who is an artist and writer, said she would prefer to “[take] up some menial part-time work” after her final semester in school instead of competing for a place in research institutions.
The literature and linguistics major said: “I anticipate all the changes that will come with the freedoms of adulthood. There is merit to following paved paths, but now is the best time to discover who we are and decide what to make of our independence.”
To others, like 26 year-old Nanyang Technological University final year student Chua Zen Chong, the freedoms that come with graduation manifest differently. He hopes to be able to support himself and become financially independent from his parents.
“I am excited that I’m graduating from my identity as a student and taking a step forward in my adult life. I hope to find stable employment within six months to slowly work towards financial freedom,” he said.
Similarly, 26-year-old Mathu Kumar actually looks forward to graduating and broadening her skills as a digital marketer. The Singapore Management University (SMU) student believes that her “longer route” in education — having attended the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnic before enrolling in university — motivates her to persevere in spite of the pandemic.
After interning at the entertainment company Turner and communications firm Edelman, she believes that she has found her passion in social media,feeling enthusiastic about pursuing a career in this up-and-coming field.
“Our generation is about constant progression. I had my entire life planned out until university when I began to face some uncertainty,” said the marketing major, “I learned to be resilient in looking for a job. I would say to not be afraid of what’s ahead – it might lead to amazing opportunities,” she added.
During her time in polytechnic, Mathu overcame the odds and finished second in her diploma’s batch. She was awarded the Mediacorp Silver Medal.
Fellow SMU student Ginny Ng, 23, hopes to land a career in fitness or music – industries that are not the most conventional in Singapore.
Despite feeling anxious about leaving school amidst the pandemic, which has landed her fewer gigs, she believes that finding a job is not as difficult as some might think.
The sociology and communications major said: “As long as you have the skillset that employers are looking for, the chances of securing a job are high. My plan is to keep releasing content to build up my portfolio, so that I’ll have things to show prospective employers.”
As for 22-year-old accounting major Choo Tseng Wen, graduating means contributing to society in a meaningful way — even when taking on a corporate job. He echoes Ginny’s sentiments that the pandemic has not been too large of a hindrance to the employment of fresh graduates.
Tseng Wen, who is also an accomplished photographer, believes that the future is bright for many youths.
He said: “Because of the pandemic, more jobs have been created in budding industries like sustainability and digitalisation.
“Whichever role I take on in the financial services sector, I hope to contribute not only to businesses but the well-being of communities they serve. It’s important to be open minded and to pursue learning beyond university.”