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Nan Phyu Phyu Thin Dael

Entrepreneur and Recipient of the Design Singapore Council Scholarship

To me, the proudest moment in my MI journey was achieving my final ‘A’ level results. During my time in MI, I had been involved in external activities that I sought out for myself such as Entrepreneurship and Technological conferences as well as a couple of hackathons. At one point I was even involved in creating my own startup. Even though the activities brought me wins that I can embellish my testimonial with, it had led me to my grades spiraling down as I did not know how to manage my time properly. I was one of the students that were at the bottom for the majority of my subjects. My teachers were all worried about me even passing. My way out was to have trust in myself that I could achieve the desired grades even when test after test revealed my academic shortcomings. My friends’ faith in me especially helped with this as well. I knew that I needed to get myself out of the academic impasse that I was in. I began to review the resources I had at MI and tried to make full use of them and by having consultations frequently with my teachers. The way I overcame the challenge was mainly through persisting and trying out a variety of methods to bridge the gaps in my understanding, until I found one that worked for me. 

With regards to my non-academic interests, my passion has always been to solve problems through redesigning of services, products or systems. I took this passion into the world of entrepreneurship where problem-solving is one of the necessary factors for success there. The way I tried to balance initially was to focus on my academics during the weekdays and dedicate time over the weekends for my passion. Having said that, it was becoming overwhelming as I was getting distracted by my passion even during my study time. Eventually, I ended up attending a Design School that does not require my ‘A’ Level results during the admission process but having said that, what I gained from ‘A’ Levels wasn't just the certificate. While it has helped me in creating a safety net that allowed me to qualify for any local university, the greatest gift from this journey was in the confidence that I eventually had later on; that my results are entirely up to me. The ‘A’ Level journey taught me the value of persistence, that I am able to do the subjects that I felt lacking in relative to my peers. This confidence that I gained in my own abilities will hopefully get me through obstacles in the future. 

To the current students, my advice is that if your results are not improving, do reflect on what revision methods have worked and what needs to be changed. Always remember that your results do not define you as a person. It is possible to balance both your passion and academics, you just have to not make excuses for yourselves. Be hungry for your desired goals, believe in yourself and be open to possibilities to try different methods until you find one that works for you.

To end off, I would like to share a quote that I live by, from someone who has inspired me during my academic journey: “It’s not a miracle, it can be done”. These were the words that gave me hope at a time when I felt hopeless and I hope this will help you too.