From truant student to Lee Kuan Yew Award winner
TNP meets students who overcame odds to graduate with awards at TP
During his first stint in polytechnic, Mr Ganesh Kunasehkaran, who often went clubbing, would skip classes frequently.
He failed several modules but didn't realise how serious things were until he was sacked from school in his final year.
At 28, he has turned his life around - and he has a Lee Kuan Yew Award for mathematics and science to show for it.
Mr Ganesh, a green building and sustainability student, was one of three Temasek Polytechnic (TP) graduates who received the Lee Kuan Yew Award yesterday.
His cumulative grade point average of 3.97 is a far cry from his grades at his previous school.
The turnaround, said Mr Ganesh, came during national service, where he thought about how far he could progress with just an O-level qualification.
His first step to turning over a new leaf was to kick his smoking habit.
He said: "Smoking became synonymous with my old habits, and I felt that to change, I needed to start with that."
A smoker since he was 13, he had tried to kick the habit on eight previous occasions, consulting doctors and using patches and gums.
"I exercised almost every day to try and stop myself from smoking, and eventually, I managed to do it," said Mr Ganesh. "Quitting smoking made me realise how mentally strong I can be."
That mental fortitude helped him focus during his diploma course, which he started three years ago while many of his peers were already working or about to graduate from university.
His mother, Madam Susila Maniam, told The New Paper that she was worried he would repeat his mistakes at TP and was relieved when he brought home good results and even sought tuition to improve his studies.
Mr Ganesh added: "I am really grateful for this second chance, and I hope to be able to give back to my parents for their support."