Temasek Poly graduates overcome setbacks to shine
One did not let physical condition and mocking bring her down, while another enrolled in TP course for second shot at education
Miss Alina Seow has suffered from diplegic cerebral palsy since birth, a condition that affects both of her legs, causing her to have difficulties in walking and balancing.
From a young age, she has been using walking aids to help with mobility, which led to her being called "grandma" in school.
However, Miss Seow, 21, did not let the childhood mocking or her physical condition bring her down.
She enrolled in Institute of Technical Education College East under the Direct Entry Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP), where she took the Higher Nitec in information technology, and subsequently pursued a diploma in IT at Temasek Polytechnic (TP).
Yesterday, Miss Seow received the Ngee Ann Kongsi Most Outstanding Overcomer Award at TP's Presentation of Top Graduates event.
She took up horse riding as a form of therapy when she was 10, which provided her with a sense of freedom in terms of movement and has helped her improve her balance and boosted her confidence.
She has participated in para-equestrian competitions and plans to continue training professionally, with the goal of representing Singapore in the Paralympic Games.
Miss Seow has applied to major in smart city management and technology at Singapore Management University, and hopes to have a hand in creating "a smart yet inclusive city in the future".
She told The New Paper: "I view myself as a normal person. And my parents always told me, 'Having a disability is not an excuse to not do anything,' which is something I took to heart.
"Hence, every time I face a road block due to my condition, I will usually think of alternative ways to complete the same goal that both my able-bodied peers and I had."
Also graduating from TP this year is Miss Viyshnatulasiy Manivannen, who received the Lee Kuan Yew Award.
Having a passion for science and biology from a young age, she felt "very lost and disappointed" in herself when her A-level results did not qualify for her dream course - life sciences at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
After taking a gap year, she decided to enrol in TP's biotechnology course as a "second chance at education".
At 20, Miss Viyshnatulasiy was older than her classmates, which made her feel like "a failure" at the beginning.
But she pushed through, serving as honorary secretary of TP's Biology Interest Group and president of the Students' Union.
Now 23, she has since gained admission into her dream course at the NUS College of Humanities and Sciences with an NUS scholarship and plans to be a clinical researcher.
She told TNP: "The most valuable thing I've learnt is everyone is on different journeys. It doesn't matter how long you take to reach your goals, don't compare your path to another person's."