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Know what you’re interested in, then go and actually do it!

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This third blog post is a little more unique, combining the insights gained from 3 very different sharings – the first by Johann Annuar (about his work done in Engineering Good), the second by Dr Lim Ser Yong (and his work in A*STAR), and finally the the third by Andrew Tay (and his work in Tay Paper Recycling). While these three engineers all chose very different paths to take after graduation, the common theme across all three of them was that they found something which they were passionate about, and chose to pursue it with all their time and energy, eventually achieving what many would have thought of as impossible.

Where does this put me? (Pick the correct answer)

  1. At the mid-point of EG2101, a good place to think about these things again
  2. At a strategic starting point, where I have quite a fair amount of information to make a well-informed decision
  3. At a point where I still have a lot more to learn, by talking to more people and hearing about each and every one of their unique experiences
  4. All of the above

These three talks have provided a very important insight for me – talking to people to find out more about their experiences is a rewarding thing in and of itself. Finding out what drives people has somehow helped me find out more about what I want for myself: now I know that I don’t really want to pursue something which is repetitive and mundane (i.e. I don’t want to become a pilot), I know I want to put my engineering skills to good use (to help as many people as I can), and I have come to some realisation that meaning in what I do is important to me.

Now, the question I’ve started asking myself is: what is meaningful to me?

I’ve always been one who believed in the effective use of resources to help people, as opposed to reducing individuals to the lowest common denominator – i.e. I never believed in going for flag days, instead opting to teach tuition and donating my earnings instead. I also believe strongly in contributing back to where I’ve benefitted most from – e.g. going back to RI to relief teach – because I’d be best able to understand what I had needed back when I was in a position to receive help. Ultimately, this boils down to the creation of value instead of merely moving it around across different places / people.

This gives additional meaning to my endeavours in Project E, trying to help JC students find out more about what Engineering truly is about, and also providing them with the right resources to make the right decision when it comes to which university to study in, and what course to choose. Within the E-Scholars community, I am also keen to help with improving the programme from the student’s initiative, through working closely with NUS departments (such as NOC and IEL), so that my friends and juniors may benefit from the programme as much as possible.

At some point, these talks have sparked a realisation that these ideas and hopes wouldn’t come to fruition just by themselves. Instead of waiting for the opportunity to arise before taking it up, it makes a lot more sense for me to craft my own unique opportunities, aspiring towards individuals who I look up to. Even better, for me to be successful in my own right, instead of trying to replicate what others have done. This is the time for me to develop a passion, for me to think about what truly makes me happy. As opposed to worrying about what I want to achieve and how I can set measurable goals for myself, perhaps this is the best way forward, before making some calculated risks and going for it! Eventually, this process of trying new things followed by effective reflection will help with my learning and personal development, forming an iterative process of continual improvements.