How Freshmen have Adapted to Life in TP

By Ong Zhi Yee Chloe, Shane Dawson & Carine Lee Jia Yan



Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Temasek Polytechnic (TP) conducted most of their lessons online. With the closure of campus during the April semester, it became difficult for the various diplomas to engage with their freshmen as it was impossible to facilitate camps and face-to-face activities due to the safety measures put in place.




(PHOTO: Ong Zhi Yee Chloe) Photo of online class taken and edited on October 1, 2020

With safe management measures in place, students had to attend lessons online. This was especially hard for the freshmen as they not only had to cope with home-based learning, but also the transition to tertiary education.

“I do like online school, but a mix of online and school would be nicer,” said Isabella Rose Gilbert, 17, a first-year student from the diploma of Hotel & Tourism Management.

(PHOTO: Ong Zhi Yee Chloe) Photo of student handbook taken and edited on October 1, 2020

However, others disagree. Caitlyn Chew Su En, 17, a freshman from the diploma in Communication Design, said that she was “coping well as the tutors were helpful and there weren't many restrictions when it comes to expressing my (her) creativity”.




(PHOTO: Ong Zhi Yee Chloe) Photo of group picture taken and edited on October 1, 2020

Traditionally, all polytechnics would organise freshmen orientation programmes to welcome the newcomers. This year, however, orientation was a no-go because the circuit breaker was in place. Most orientations were therefore either cancelled or held online.


Orientation is considered essential to welcome most students as they enter into a new environment to study. With no orientation for some students, they have to socialise or make new friends online which can be more difficult.


“Making friends online was harder for me,” said Melvin Vincent, 18, a first-year student from the Diploma in Business. “However, I found a way to get to know my classmates while doing projects and slowly built my way to talk about other interests that we may have in common.”

(PHOTO: Ong Zhi Yee Chloe) Photo taken and edited on October 1, 2020

“I imagined orientation to be fun and it allows me to bond with my schoolmates quickly rather than going through the awkward phase,” Chew added. She felt that orientation would have been helpful for her to get to know new people and bond with them as she is a more reserved person.


Many felt that online orientation does not provide the same bonding experience as orientation in real life. “I actually feel that an online orientation would be a waste of time and even if there was such an event, I would not attend it,” Vincent said. 

(PHOTO: Ong Zhi Yee Chloe) Photo taken and edited on October 1, 2020

With the April semester done and dusted, students are back on campus for most of their lessons.


“I am relieved to finally be on campus as I feel that I can concentrate better in class. At home, I tend to get easily distracted by my bed and my Playstation console,” said Vincent.


However, not everyone felt the same way.


“I miss online classes as I could wake up ten minutes before class and still be on time,” said Luke Grayson, 18, a first-year student from the diploma in Business.

Ask TP