Three Years in Ngee Ann Poly's Mass Communication — Graduation!

May 15, 2016

Rays of sunshine peeked at me through my windows, rousing me awake. The day I've been anticipating finally arrived and the excitement was getting unbearable. Counting down to that day since three years ago, I can say I was even more thrilled than I've ever been on any of my first dates. Jumping off my bed, I rushed to the bathroom with a spring in every step I took.

10 May 2016, the day my friends celebrate our achievements. All of our cheeks flushed with excitement, the exhilaration was getting too real. The day really arrived! Congratulatory words thrown at us everywhere we turned but I was too preoccupied with my own thoughts to compose a proper response.

I was still in disbelief that I made it. The odds were clearly stacked against me but I broke all barriers; the incredulousness of it all was making my head spin. Six years back, at 14, I set my eyes on this course. For the first time in my life EVER, I had an aim. I finally had an answer to the most important question in my life at that time, "What do you want to do after secondary school?"

Except one thing.

Mass Communication in Ngee Ann Polytechnic was, and still is, one of the most popular courses in Singapore. With a cut off point of 10, I had to score at least five A2s to even compete in the race. The look of disbelief, the doubtful casts my teachers showed me was self-explanatory - none of them thought I could make it. Mind you, I was on the verge of retaining a year because I scored mostly F9s, passing only English and even that wasn't anywhere near an A. Even passing O Levels was a seemingly daunting task.

As expected, I didn't do well. Let's not mention about five A2s when I did not score a single A. I remembered sliding and sinking onto the floor of my school hall, sobbing incessantly and shaking so badly because I had no back up plans. Media was my only choice and I knew it. What was I supposed to do?

Spoiler: I made it.

Everyone knows by now how JPSAE (now known as EAE) saved my ass. Even my lecturers know my blog via my YouTube video (which I'm really not proud of because I spoke so badly omg!). Before I knew it, I was enrolled and my toughest three years began. NP's School of Film and Media Studies isn't known for being Singapore's most established media school for nothing and Mass Comm has a reputation for being competitive for a reason.

Before enrolment, I heard stories about how course-mates regularly turned against each other and that backstabbing is a common occurrence. I heard from friends of friends that I'd never find true friends in FMS because that's just how the culture is and everyone's a bitch so the only way out is for me to learn to be a better bitch. I won't deny it scared me a little and my social anxiety didn't make things better. I even shed tears due to my nervousness!

That wasn't the case as I soon discovered. The people I met during my Freshmen Bonding Camp were lovely and my classmates were pleasant. Sure, I met one or two of those stereotyped FMS students but I gradually learnt that I had nothing much to be worried about, hence school only got more fun as the days after my enrolment flew by.

On our very first day, the director of FMS, affectionately known to us secret agents as Big Mama, informed us that FMS stands for Forever Missing Sleep and we should cherish whatever little sleep we had left. Boy, was that the understatement of my lifetime! Over my three years in Mass Comm, I was constantly sleep-deprived, turning me cranky and short-tempered. I swear I never stayed awake for so many nights in a row before I entered Mass Comm.

It was an ongoing uphill battle for me, with me continuously questioning my own abilities, especially when being shot questioning looks after I tell people my O Level score. I was hysterical nearing submission weeks because I wanted to prove my worth so desperately. Countless sleepless nights have taken a toll on my health but I've never been felt more fulfilled in my entire life. If anyone asks, my answer remains the same: it's crazy and I lost count of how many times I broke down but the tears were well worth it, no arguments about that. The last three years were tough but rewarding.

Lecturers always said, "If you can get through Mass Comm / FMS, you can get through anything in life." Today, as a full time working adult, I attest to that statement. Of course I still feel the pressure from my job sometimes but nothing can compare to what we were put through in FMS. The demanding workload brought out the best in me. Occasionally, I look back and wonder how did I get through those insane taxing three years without turning deranged.

"Regine."

I recognised that voice - it's one of my favourite lecturers. Snapping back to reality, I realised I was already on the stage. There's no time to waste, I brisk walked purposefully to Big Mama while whispering ever so softly to myself left right left right. After all, I don't want the entire faculty's last memory of me to be that of a girl sprawling on the ground. Faltering to a stop in front of her, I saw Big Mama mouthed congratulations so I thanked her and we posed for a photo.

I remember being slightly disoriented - where should I place my hands? I hurriedly grab whichever part of the folder I could reach. Now, where is the cameraman? I only located him via the flash from his camera. Yup, it's too late, the photo's taken. I can only hope I don't look like a lost deer in my graduation photo.


In less than 30 seconds, the moment I eagerly awaited was over; three years of hard work in exchanged for 30 seconds on stage. As the Chinese saying goes, 台上一分钟,台下十年功 (literally: one minute onstage, ten years of hard work offstage).

Sauntering off the stage, carefully counting my steps before I disappeared from the eyes of the audience, I heaved a sigh of relief, complimenting myself for not tripping where the public could see (because I already tripped twice privately and it wasn't caught by most of the audience). I bounced out of the auditorium, hearing congratulatory words again, and did an internal cheer.

It was surreal as reality started to set in. It finally dawned upon me when I was handed my diploma and a graduation teddy bear proclaiming 'Class of 2016' - I did it!!! I'm officially a diploma holder and not just any diploma, it's a diploma in Mass Communication from the pioneer media school in Singapore! My dream came true!

The moments after the graduation ceremony were a whirl as I rushed everywhere to take photos with everyone. I'm disappointed that I missed taking photos with a huge amount of people, especially lecturers who influenced my life, turning me into a better person. Nonetheless, I have emailed most of them to thank them personally. Without them, there won't be this girl with a fiery passion and love for the media industry.


If anyone asks, please let them know that this is my one true love and nothing else comes close.

Thank you FMS, for believing in my abilities when my O Level score failed me, for seeing the potential in me when no one else did, for providing me with top-notch education in this industry with facilities unparalleled to the rest. Nothing is comparable to my three years in FMS; this school is truly a place for freaks and I will hold those memories close to my heart.

A photo posted by Regine 🌻 (@pekyj) on

Graduate lo!!! No more missing sleep!

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4 comments

  1. Congrats Pekyj! What's next?

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    1. Thank you :) I'm working full time now! :)

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  2. Uni? Wkw? I thought wkw was better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. not planning to do another comms degree so not wkw. doubt I can get in anyway hahaha

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