She overcomes shyness to be a reporter
Temasek Poly student on what she learnt from her internship at The New Paper
She never imagined she would see an article she had written appear on the front page of The New Paper, much less that she would win an award for it.
That was what happened to Miss Phyllis Lee, 19, a third-year communications and media management (CMM) student at the Temasek Polytechnic (TP) School of Business.
In her third year, she went through a six-month internship with TNP and won a Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) special award for excellence in investigative reporting.
She said: "TP taught me the basics and theories of journalism, which groomed me for my internship with TNP.
"But at TNP, I learnt that writing is not the most important thing in journalism - going out and talking to people is."
Speaking to people did not come naturally to Phyllis, who is shy and quiet.
"I'm not an extrovert, so that was a challenge for me. But my friends in TP helped me grow my self-confidence and be more outgoing," she said. Miss Lee's most memorable story during her time at TNP was the one that won her the award - about otters killing fish at Sentosa.
"We received a tip-off from a hotline caller about it. My editor told me to go down to Sentosa and find the otters in broad daylight! I thought it was an impossible task," she said.
But after knocking on doors at Sentosa Cove, she found a resident who used to have hundreds of tilapia, but was left with two after losing them to otters in more than 20 attacks.
She said: "From that experience, I learnt that patience is key. It took me two weeks to develop the entire story, but it paid off in the end."
That report was also carried by The Straits Times.
In her second year, Miss Lee was made the news editor of TP's news portal Digital Stop Press, which is run by CMM students.
"As an editor, I had to pitch story ideas, which was relevant to the working world," she said.
After she graduates from TP next May, Miss Lee intends to take a gap year to try out different types of writing, or even other media-related careers.
She said: "After discussing career choices with my lecturer-in-charge of Digital Stop Press, I decided to take a gap year as I'm not sure what I want to study in university yet.
"I want to work first to understand what I want to do in the future. Hopefully through the gap year, I'll finally decide on my career choice."
Miss Lee is especially thankful for her lecturers and coursemates who guided her along her journey in TP.
"The lecturers will try to get to know you on a personal level, and if we have any problems we can talk to them about it.
"My digital Stop Press lecturer even gave me advice that I should start sending out my resumes now," she said.
Miss Teh Yee Lin, section head for the diploma in CMM, said: "Phyllis kept a positive attitude throughout the internship and didn't let stress and pressure get in the way of doing her job.
"She was constantly reflecting on how she could do better. I witnessed how Phyllis blossomed from somebody who is shy into a confident young lady."
What: Beyond 'O' Level Seminar
Who: Students awaiting O-level results and their parents
When: Saturday, Jan 7, 2017. Seminar starts at 10am. Breakfast will be served from 9am.
Where: Temasek Convention Centre, Temasek Polytechnic
Tickets: Admission is free
How to register: Online via the Temasek Polytechnic website, www.tp.edu.sg/beyondolevel
For inquiries, call 6780-6027 and 6780-6556 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org