I wanted to prove I'm not a failure
DETERMINED: Mr Jonathan Peh resolved to study harder once he got a place at Singapore Polytechnic.
His wake-up call came the moment he held his O-level results slip in his hand.
With an L1R5 of 26 points, Mr Jonathan Peh, 19, could not qualify for any junior college, or Singapore Polytechnic's (SP) civil engineering course, which he wanted to do.
Through a successful appeal, he eventually landed a spot in his desired course at SP, where he finally excelled.
Mr Peh had been an unmotivated and rebellious student during his secondary school years.
His poor grades earned him teases and insults in Secondary 3. His classmates at Zhenghua Secondary School called him a "burden", and told him he did not belong in the class.
This negative peer pressure demoralised him even further, causing him to care increasingly less about his studies.
He said: "I often felt lost and directionless, I couldn't apply myself in school."
No amount of reprimanding and punishment made him see the error of his ways, until he saw his lacklustre O-level results.
"When I looked at my results, I could not believe I had done this badly."
Once he got into SP, Mr Peh resolved to do better.
He said: "I wanted to prove to myself and to others that I am not a failure."
His efforts have not gone to waste. Now a final-year student and Model Student Award winner, Mr Peh has a perfect GPA of 4.0 and thanks the school for giving him a second chance.
His parents, Mr Peh Chee Keong, 53, and Madam Ang Huay Huay, 46, are proud of his success.
Madam Ang said in Mandarin: "When he went to poly after O levels, I noticed such a drastic difference in his attitude. He works much harder and is motivated to study.
"It definitely shocked my husband and I."