Why I failed my Diploma

Clickbait title alert: I didn’t actually fail poly. Okay now moving on.

Old news, but I graduated from NYP several months back. While poly life is over and it being a year since I did any studying, I’m sitting myself down to reflect on why I graduated with such horrible results so that I can work on it when I get to University.

Let me start by mentioning that I graduated with a GPA of 3.4x out of 4. Sure, to some people, this result isn’t too bad. But really, the general notion is that no score is good enough unless you can enter local universities with it. And I didn’t make it in. Which basically means that my results are trash. In my defence, it has always been my intention to pursue a degree overseas. It was only during the period when everyone was applying for the local unis when I started doubting my self-worth and started thinking that I would be looked down upon by society if I didn’t enter NUS/NTU/SMU.

Here’s the thing: I’m a horrible student. If I were studious and diligent, I would have ended up in NP’s Business Studies course (aka my first choice). But I was not, and there was no motivation and what not to push me to study, so I entered poly in 2013 thinking, “Ha, I’ll just scrape through this and see what happens”. Imagine my surprise when I received my first semester’s results to find out I had attained a 3.6 GPA! I did minimal studying and unexpectedly managed to get pretty decent scores, so I thought, hey, poly can’t be that bad right? After all, I hardly studied!

Then, two more semesters of me-not-studying passed and for the first time, I saw my cumulative GPA drop below a 3. There’s a multitude of reasons as to why my GPA took a turn for the worse, but it was mainly because 1) I got complacent after doing so well in my first semester, and 2) I completely lost all interest in the field of study.

1) Complacency

I thought that since I’d managed to get 5 As out of 6 subjects in Semester 1 without doing much studying, I’d be able to replicate my success throughout the rest of my poly life. But alas, poly just doesn’t work that way. It took me two semesters of shameful results to learn that your workload WILL double. Talk about an expensive lesson.

2) Losing interest in IT

As I earlier mentioned, I’d wanted to study Business but unsuccessfully applied to the business courses. Without much of a choice, I settled for my next best option, a Diploma in Business Enterprise IT. I committed to the course knowing NOTHING about the curriculum, and the only reason I took it up was really because of the word “Business” in the name of the Diploma. Needless to say, things don’t always end up your way, and I was faced with a bunch of IT modules which I dreaded. Picture someone knowing zilch about technology doing programming all of a sudden. Yup, that was me. I went from getting a bunch of As to Cs and Ds. It was horrible. I vividly recall struggling through the sem because I simply couldn’t for the life of me grasp the technicalities of everything. I hated everything that was going on in my life at that point.

Anyhow, seeing my GPA dip to below a 3.0 was the wake-up call. I knew I was going to university, and I knew that a 2.9 GPA would not bring me anywhere well. It was there and then that I decided I had to do something about my studies.

I started brainwashing myself into thinking that women engineers are the bomb by reading up on successful technopreneurs for inspiration. Thankfully, I was motivated enough (for the first time in my life might I add) to diligently study throughout the whole semester! I’m honestly amazed at how I managed to attain an average of 3.9 for the remaining semesters. I even topped my class in 4 out of 6 subjects in one of them! The last half of my poly journey was no doubt an incredible period as I achieved milestones over milestones. Some refreshing ones include being the first to complete a practical test (it was a C# module) in the cohort and still managing to get full marks on it and also consecutively getting near full marks in tests after tests on concurrent modules.

Despite doing so well in the last half of my poly journey, I still graduated with sub-par results. The damage had already been done, and it affected my overall results. Nonetheless, I’m grateful that I had put my mind to work hard otherwise I would never have known of the potential in me.

Some achievements include:

  • Earning the Good Progress Award for being the most improved student in the course (2.38 to 3.63 in one semester!)
  • Getting into the coveted Director’s List for both semesters in my final year
  • Winning a Hackathon in 3rd place, hence being rewarded with an Xbox One (which I later sold for 450 bucks on Carousell since I’m not much of a gamer) and a pair of movie tickets

Even though my final results didn’t turn out as well as I wanted it to be, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made thus far. And am happy to add that 16 years old me who got rejected from all the business courses is going to be darn proud to hear that I will, after all, be going to Business School at the University of Melbourne!

I can’t wait for what’s in store and at least now know that as long as I put my mind and heart into doing something, I’ll be able to achieve it ;)