Ganesh (centre) with his proud parents
During his first stint in polytechnic, Mr Ganesh Kunasehkaran would often go clubbing, smoke and drink heavily, skip classes, and neglect his studies. Consequently, he failed several modules but didn't realise how serious things were until he was removed from his Aerospace & Avionics diploma course in his final year.
But where Republic Polytechnic turned him away, Temasek Polytechnic (TP) gave him a second chance – which he seized and treasured.
Resolving to turn his life around, he worked hard at TP, and his efforts paid dividends. In May 2017, the 28-year-old graduated with a Diploma in Green Building & Sustainability (Merit), and won the Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) Award with a cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.97.
How did Ganesh do it? He explained: “Smoking became synonymous with my old habits, and I felt that to change for the better, I needed to start by quitting smoking." A smoker since he was 13, he had tried to kick the habit on eight previous occasions, consulting doctors and using patches and gums. But they all failed – until he was in TP.
"Quitting smoking made me realise how mentally strong I can be," assessed Ganesh. “That mental fortitude certainly helped me to focus during my diploma course,” he added.
He did so well at TP that when his MOE subsidy for his Poly studies ceased (as he had exceeded the 5 years of subsidised study), which means he had to pay about $20,000 per year to continue studying at TP, the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) stepped in to offer him a scholarship worth $15,000 per year for his remaining 2 years of study at TP. That gave him even more motivation to work harder.
Ganesh added: "I am really grateful to TP for giving me this second chance, and I hope to be able to give back to society and to my parents for their support."