She made it to Forbes list
Temasek Poly alumnus on Forbes Asia's 30 Under 30 list went against parents' wishes
Her doodles were so well-received, her classmates used to pass her their notebooks so she could illustrate their notes.
But Miss Clara Yee, 27, a triple science student in secondary school, never imagined a career in the arts.
After scoring five points in her O levels, everyone thought she would go to a junior college.
But Miss Yee had other plans.
She had heard about the visual communication course (now known as communication design) at Temasek Polytechnic (TP).
Against her parents' wishes, she enrolled in the course after going to the TP open house.
Miss Yee, whose father is an engineer and mother a housewife, told The New Paper: "My mum was especially concerned and thought that I was learning something frivolous."
Crediting hard work, as well as a measure of trial and error, Miss Yee graduated as the top student of her cohort in 2009.
Now she is an independent designer and illustrator who was recently recognised in Forbes Asia's 30 Under 30, a list of influential young people in the region.
Miss Yee looks set to join TP's visual communication course's string of impressive alumni over the years.
They include local director Royston Tan and four winners of the prestigious President's Design Award, creative directors Pann Lim, Larry Peh, Chris Lee and Hanson Ho.
Mr Lim Chong Jin, director of TP's School of Design, said: "Success breeds success, and TP's School of Design has been able to attract some of the best talent, like Clara and many others.
"One of the values of the school is 'possibilities realised', a two-word statement that encapsulates the spirit of excellence and enterprise...
"The school believes in unlocking these possibilities and creating pathways and opportunities for every talent to shine."
Miss Yee said: "My tutors at TP were encouraging, but they also gave me a healthy dose of reality - that this would not be an easy industry.
"When I was in school, I also consulted many design studios, who were all very kind to speak to me when I wanted to find out about career options."
After graduating, she received a scholarship to study at prestigious arts and design college Central Saint Martins in London.
While she was in university, she interned for six months at fashion house Alexander McQueen as a print designer.
She returned to Singapore in 2012 and has scored roles in high-profile projects.
One such stint last year was as the art director for Singapore: Inside Out, which showcases local creative talents to audiences in Beijing, New York and London. It was commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board.
Despite her success, Miss Yee said she has her fair share of worries and doubts about her future.
She said: "I wouldn't even say that I'm a success story, but I've always made the best of the opportunities I've been given and I've always thrived on experimenting and working on new things."
"My mum was especially concerned and thought that I was learning something frivolous."
- Miss Yee on her parents' reaction when she enrolled in a design course
About Early Admissions Exercise
The Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) will replace the Direct Polytechnic Admission exercise from next year.
The Joint Polytechnic Special Admissions Exercise will also be folded into EAE.
The EAE will cater to students with strong aptitudes and interests in course-specific areas, as well as those with exceptional talent in areas such as leadership and sports.
Parents who wish to find out how their children can secure a place at Temasek Polytechnic before the O-level exams can attend TP's seminar for more information.
What: Parental guidance seminar on Early Admissions Exercise
When: Saturday, June 25, 9.30am
Where: Temasek Convention Centre, Temasek Polytechnic, 21, Tampines Avenue 1