Normal to Outstanding

Clean Energy student, Peterson Ng, who hails from a neighbourhood school, was unsure of his future when he was streamed into the Normal (Academic) track.  Undaunted, he worked hard, and secured 19 points for his ‘O’ level exams, good enough to earn him a place in the Diploma in Clean Energy (CER) at Temasek Polytechnic.  That was when his leadership skills shone through, and he emerged as one of the top student leaders in the School.  He shares his experience and talks about how his 3-year experience in TP has shaped him into what he is today.

When I was posted to the Normal Academic stream in Sec 1, I actually didn’t think much of it.  After all, I did not get posted to the Normal Technical stream right?  But when I was in Sec 4N, I began to worry a little, cos I realised that I would not be able to enter a Poly if I did not pass my ‘N’ Levels and proceed to do my ‘O’ Levels.  Stressed, depressed and anxious I was.  I studied really hard for my ‘N’ Levels and I was glad that I made it to Sec 5.

Having made it to Sec 5, I was determined and even more motivated to enter a Poly. I knew that if I did badly, I would head straight to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), which means I would have to spend another year or two in ITE.  Thus, I studied very hard.  On results day, when my teacher handed me my “O” Level results, looked at the result slip and was actually kind of dejected… I scored a L1R2B2 of 19 points. My friends actually congratulated me and told me that it’s already an accomplishment.  I was dejected as I expected more from myself; however, I was a little happy inside because at least, I can enter a Poly.  At least I was able to fulfil my wish.

Looking up at the various polytechnic websites and visiting several Open house booths at Temasek Polytechnic (TP), I decided to apply for the diploma in Clean Energy at TP.  The Cut off Point (COP) for the diploma that year (2012) was 22, so I managed to get a place, and I was delighted! 

During the Freshmen Orientation, I was initially worried that I would not be able to mix well with the other new students, as they were mostly from the Express Stream.  Thankfully, my worries and anxieties were unfounded.  I was able to make many great friends and I got along well with my classmates and course mates.  The next 3 years really made a difference in my life – it was in TP that I moulded my leadership abilities, improved my interpersonal skills and enhanced my confidence. 


with visiting sec school students

At TP, I actually joined various clubs and held different leadership positions in them.  I was the President of the Engineering Student Ambassadors (SA) club for 2 years, a committee member for Energy Oasis (Clean Energy diploma club) for a year and a Class Representative too!  I attended various leadership camps and courses to enhance myself and my leadership skills.  Not only that, I also served as an Emcee for my school on various occasions and was also involved in community work too.  But I guess, the highlight of my CCA involvement in TP must surely be the role I played in the SA club.  As a Student Ambassador, I had to give talks to secondary school students and teachers who visited us, usher them around the TP campus and plan the logistics for various Outreach events.  There were so many things to look into and as President, I had to lead the SAs who were under me as well.  Each time we had an event, I had to contact the SAs and schedule them to help with the logistics.  Sometimes, when I get very little response, I get anxious… but ultimately, my SAs always step up to the tasks and I am thankful to have such a team of committed SAs.


With some of my SA members

During my final year in TP, I actually had the chance to be selected as a model for the 2016 TP Open House for the school of Engineering!  I initially did not want to accept the offer, as I thought it would be embarrassing, cos my photos would be featured everywhere around the campus!  However, after thinking through I decided to go with the flow.  Out of thousands of students in EngineeringSchool, I actually got nominated by my course manager.  And then, out of about 2 dozen students nominated, I was chosen by my school’s Editor to be one of 9 student models to be featured!  So, I actually felt very honored and proud!  I mean, how often do you get to become an icon of your school, right? 

During the photoshoot, we had to do an individual shoot, in different poses.  It was actually quite tiring.  We had to do numerous shoots just to get one perfect shot.  Being a model is definitely not and easy job. The worst part was that, even the guys had to use a little concealer and foundation to cover up any little blemishes! 

After the individual shoot, we adjourned to the campus garden area for an outdoor group photoshoot.  Each of the 9 of us – 5 girls and 4 guys – was supposed to represent one profession, and we had been told to dress according to the assigned profession.  Being from the Diploma in Clean Energy, I was assigned to be a Clean Energy Field Engineer.  Together, the 9 of us were supposed to show that an Engineering diploma from TP is versatile and one can venture into many jobs.  The group photo was made into a huge a life-size backdrop that would be displayed along the school concourse for one year! 


During our group photoshoot at the TP gardens

A week later, walking along the school concourse, I had a shock of my life, when I stumbled into me.  Yes, me!  There in front of me, was a life-size solo cut-out of myself, holding on to a signage and pointing the way to the Clean Energy Centre.  I did not expect it to be a life size model!  I was very embarrassed as I walked through the concourse seeing myself! What made it worse was, the students and lecturers who walked past me recognised me as “the model cut-out boy”.  It was actually a proud but at the same time awkward moment for me!  I was in the limelight for a few seconds every time!  My 1.9m height made everything more obvious to the crowd. 

There was an even more remarkable incident: during the Open House, I received a notification on Facebook, from a photo tag.  Not suspecting anything, I launched my Facebook as usual to view the photo…. And guess what?  It was actually a secondary school girl who had taken a selfie with my cut out when she visited our campus and posted it on her Facebook.  Apparently, someone who saw the photo subsequently tagged me.  The post triggered a storm of comments from her friends, one of whom had commented “Perfect Match!”  I was honestly taken aback by the photo, and even the comments!  I burst out laughing and even showed my friends the FB post!  For a moment, I felt like one of those Korean superstars, being stalked by pretty young girls!  But it was all in good fun, and it was a great experience which I wouldn’t have wanted any other way.

At this point, my 3 years in TP is about to end.  I wouldn’t say that my grades are very sensational, but hey, it’s the experience that counts. TP has made me grow and develop into the person that I am today.  I was able to attain so many various leadership roles and even be a “model” for my school.  I have also made many good friends – friends whom I shall always treasure.  Thank you, TP, giving me the chance to let my abilities flourish.  My 3 years in TP is certainly one of the most unforgettable and enriching periods in my life.


With my classmates @ TP


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