Graduated with the bachelor’s degree from the Division of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, NTU, I was offered a chance to embark on a post-graduate study journey in the same division. Little did I know that this decision was the best choice in my life.
This is a short story of how NTU’s 4-year post-graduate programme shapes the future for a young man, in all ways possible, offering the best one could ask for in his adulting stage. I was lost, but I found myself through these 4 years.
Many have the impression that a PhD only makes you nerdier and older, I experienced it otherwise.
Academically, NTU offers a highly dynamic and fast-paced research environment to conduct research with little worries about funding or shortage of equipment. I have the amazing nanotechnology research environment in Assoc. Prof. Ling Xing Yi’s lab – fully equipped with cutting-edge instruments for us to push the frontiers of the field of surface-enhanced Raman scattering research. I was lucky enough to be guided by Prof Ling to publish decent papers, and given opportunities to represent NTU in 4 international conferences, and eventually graduated with the Gold Award for the best PhD Thesis in 2019 (Singapore’s National Institute of Chemistry – Prof Lee Soo Ying’s Young Chemist Award). My work with Prof Ling was also featured by Channel News Asia, and TODAYonline. I also had the chance to qualify for the finals of the 3-Minute-Thesis competition held in NTU, forcing myself to step out of my comfort zone to present my entire 4-year research in 1 slide within 3 minutes. This event grooms my skills of public scientific communications – which I believe to be highly important for any modern-day scientists.
But hold on, people might have read enough research-related news from NTU and this is ‘just-another-story’ of scientists from our university – the best young university and 13th-rank research institute in the world.
What NTU offered me, however, was beyond just academic training.
In 2016, NTU launched the Residential Education Programme (RE@NTU) to introduce unique after-class activities to NTU residents, recruiting post-graduate students as mentors to develop programmes for the halls. This was a blessing for me as I had been (and still am) passionate about arts ( I was a street dancer/graffiti artist way before I pursued an tertiary education). I joined Hall 8 as a Residential Mentor to found the AR+BACK programme (ART + give BACK), in which local artists are invited to give art workshops (photography, videography, spray painting, dance) to hall residents. The residents will subsequently use the art skills they learnt to teach the under-privileged children in beneficiaries – embarking the idea of using art to give back to community. This had long been my life ambition as I was introduced to art to practice and develop a passion in my youth-at-risk days. Art gave me a direction in life, and thus I always wanted to do the same for the unfortunate youths. Thankfully, RE@NTU made it happen.
Fast forward to my 3rd year in RE programme and final year of PhD, we set up the first-ever on-campus spray painting (graffiti) site by renovating the Hall 8 Smoking Point area. I was more than happy to see hall residents learn the arts that they would never have the chance to learn in schools, and see them share the joy when they reach out to the kids at beneficiaries. All of these moments were made true by NTU.
And that is not all. NTU campus life is beyond what you can imagine. NTU’s Cultural Activities Clubs (CAC) offer an amazing range of recreational activities even for nerdy Post-graduates like us to take part in high-level and well-organized dance concerts. As I thought I was never going to dance again once I started my PhD, I was proven wrong. The Joint Dance Concert organized by CAC inspired me to squeeze out a couple of hours of my week to join my friends to put up a bboy (breakdance) item. I also got a chance to participate and win the annual breakdance competition for schooling dancers, in which I represented the NTU Breakdance club (NTU Breakers).
This relived my youth, and kept my passion burning (and my fat burning, too).
After 4 years, I gained more than just a piece of paper.
I was trained to perform world-class research.
I reshaped my career choices, balancing work and hobbies. I am now a scientist-technopreneur, a start-up founder, and also a digital sketch artist (and occasional dancer).
I confidently say that NTU offers a perfect blend of environments for anyone to grow in every aspects. NTU is a playground for anyone to find themselves.
I would like to express the most sincere and heartfelt thanks to my supervisor, Prof. WEI Lei, for his enlightening guidance and constant encouragement. His excellent insights in academic research and personal charisma influenced me and promoted my growth during the past years. I would also like to thank Prof. SHUM Ping Perry, Prof. LIU Linbo, and Dr. HU Juanjuan, for their encouraging advises and enlightening discussions. I will take this chance to thank my close colleagues and friends for the tremendous supports for my research work and the joyful time we spent together. Their impressive patience and warm support led me through all the difficulties during my Ph. D. work.
I would describe my postgraduate studies in NTU as a magical journey. It was a fruitful one with the opportunity to undergo an immersion programme at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), where I get to experience life as a student living overseas. Apart from studying, NTU campus was a great place to hang around with all the nice food hidden in canteens located all around the campus. Until now, I still do miss some of the food sold in hall canteens. The past 1.5 years of study life was stressful, but at the same time was an unforgettable one. This special journey has occupied a part of my life, and will be etched in my mind for the years to come.
Study year: 2019 – 2020
The post-graduate journey was full of uncertainties and difficulties, but because of that, I have grown in my Christian faith, been humbled by the support of many – supervisors, lab mates, family and friends, and learned that truly no man is an island. I have also gained confidence in the many tangible skills I’ve been trained in, but it is the intangible ones – perseverance despite repeated failures particularly, that will help me keep growing through future life challenges. For me, completing the post-graudate journey was impossible until it was done, and I now gratefully and eagerly look forward to the next phase of life. Soli Deo gloria – to God alone be the glory, for the things He has done!
Deciding to pursue my Master’s degree in the coveted RSIS has got to be one of my best decisions. Completing the programme full-time in ten months while juggling a demanding full-time job did not at all dilute the enriching and fulfilling experience I’ve had. I send my deepest appreciation to the humble and inspiring faculty members, and the support staff who went the extra mile for the students especially in an unpredictable pandemic, as well as all seen and unseen heroes who had a part to play in the success of ‘Class of 2020’. I’ll remember the friendships forged and the gems of learning for as long as I live. To all the visible angels I’ve come across during the programme, I wish you the very best of lives, wherever you may be. May our paths cross again, hopefully during the physical graduation ceremony or anywhere in this beautiful world.
What creative energy from our Arts, Ageing & Wellness course-mates when the Singapore COVID 19 Circuit Breaker put paid to our preparation to run Arts Workshops for our Graduating Project! Even as they were instructed in this MS Teams meeting segment to 1) reflect on their environment and post a photograph and 2) write a haiku (or free verse) on their situation, they gamely responded with poetic compositions with contemplative observations, whinges and gratitude expressed with wry humour and lyricism, as well as hope despite the uncertainty.
My reflection here in haiku:
Circuit breaker time
Contemplation within walls
Hope for a new day
Being Ph.D. is an independent and lonely way, no one fully understands
your research. You fight on your own and make your own decisions. Being hardworking in both
hands and mind is the only way.
I am lucky to know friends with interesting mind and broad heart. I am fortunate to meet my
love at a global conference. We travel to Korea, Japan, UK and having the most beautiful time
ever. Graduation, is just the start of life and study never ends.
My Ph.D research journey at NTU has been full of insights and unique experiences. I had the chance to work on an interdisciplinary project where I developed a platform for bacteria detection using bio-electrochemical methods. As a PhD student from the School of Materials Science and Engineering, I strengthen my research with a collaboration with the Singapore center for environmental life and sciences (SCELSE). Besides the research, I enjoyed mentoring final-year-project students and polytechnic interns. I had the chance of teaching as teaching assistant classes and hands on laboratories on “Microstructure of Materials”, “Corrosion Engineering”, and “Electrochemical Polishing”. This journey wouldn’t be completed without communicating the science and engineering we developed in conferences locally and internationally. My work has also been recognized by peer-reviewed publications on international journals. Also, throughout this journey, I have received several awards including poster, travel, and a prestigious industrial fellowship. I had the honor of having received my last award as a Ph.D. student from the hand of Prof Daniela Rhodes for a Conference Grant by the Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology at NTU.
I am Yi Wen. I still remembered the moment when I received the offer letter from RSIS one year ago. I feel very happy and grateful that I would be enter into RSIS and become part of the RSIS and student of NTU. Along the journey, although I have some tough moments but mostly a lot of joyful moment and most importantly this is the fruitful journey that I learn a lot of knowledge and better equipped as a international relations enthusiast. And now, I graduated and I still couldn’t believe that I make it and this will be my unforgettable journey of my life.
I would like to thanks my family and all my friends along the journey who support me financially and spiritually. Furthermore, I also would like to thanks every lecturer and professor of the courses I taken, I learn a lot from you all. I also feel grateful that I make some good friends in RSIS. I also would like to say thank you to every administration and officer that help us along the way.
I hope I would apply the things I learned from RSIS to contribute to the society and pursue my dream in the future. I am very proud I am part of NTU and RSIS. Thanks RSIS, Thanks NTU.
Yes…We are a special batch of 2020… A Big Congrats to all graduating this year!!!
A Big Thanks To NTU!!!!
Heartfelt Thanks to my Supervisor, Assoc Prof Premchand Dommaraju!!!!
My Sincere Gratitude to Prof Genaro, Prof Patrick, Prof Sam, and all the wonderful faculties of Sociology!!!!
A Deepest Thanks to all my lovely friends!!!!
A Big Appreciation to the Admin Team of SSS Graduate School!!!
Graduation reminds us of the stepping stone of a new life. Wishing all the success to all graduating friends…