Do entrepreneurs need a university education? After all, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of university. However, they spent much of their formative years in university, and, for some, made connections during this time that would be vital to their success. There is an even longer list of successful entrepreneurs, like Jack Ma, Elon Musk and Larry Page, who graduated from university with excellent grades, too.
I believe that university is useful for building skills and networks that will be helpful for building your future business. The good news is, there are plenty of opportunities in NTU that set you towards your goal.
Here are eight steps aspiring entrepreneurs in NTU can take to kickstart their dreams. Continue reading →
As an undergraduate at NTU, I have found that critical thinking is encouraged in classroom discussions. In theory, the goal of critical thinking can be said to make you a devil’s advocate. No opinion or argument is flawless; you can and will, seemingly for its own sake, find fault with anything a person says. Of course, this sounds like a surefire way to gain unpopularity.
However, by moulding you into an independent thinker, critical thinking brings benefits that far outweigh its initial drawbacks.
We cupped our ears and squinted our eyes; the horrendous din was reminiscent of a ghoulish scene from Dante’s Inferno…
That’s what it felt like as my friends and I returned to NTU to do some admin work after our graduation in August. We looked at the freshmen in their camps and had this moment of sage-like wisdom: “Ah freshmen, how little they know…” Then it dawned on us: four years ago we were in those same freshmen camps.
Something happens as you transition from being a freshman to a sophomore (year two) then a junior (year three) and finally a senior student (year four).
Suddenly, what used to fascinate you as freshman or sophomore doesn’t intrigue you anymore. Other things become more interesting and you find that freshmen start to look at you like some wise, old person. Secretly, behind your wizened demeanour, you marvel at how they can stay up till 4am and not be absolutely burned out the next day. You are amazed at how they can shout and scream and run and still have so much energy. You are amazed at the muscle-ripping figures they have, and wonder whether you ever looked that ripped in your prime. Don’t look as if you don’t know what I mean (especially the guys)! By year three or four you probably started building a tummy pillow around your waist, which I’ve always had. Well, at least I maintained the rest of my figure.
I never imagined myself in that world of big smiles, perfect hair and tiaras – let alone one of Singapore’s “Big 4” pageants – but this September I found myself in a neat line of girls in gowns, on that very stage, at Miss Singapore World.
It still feels a little surreal. I’d woken up one morning to a Facebook message inviting me to join Miss Singapore World. It was one of those “What if?” moments – they had already completed a pre-judging segment, and the night itself was only a few weeks away, but I decided to go with a “Why not!” and put my best stiletto-ed foot forward. Continue reading →
I’m in a reflective mood. As a member of the graduating Class of 2014, seeing a chapter of my life come to a close gives me pause to reflect.
Once you leave the confines of the University, there are no more modules, no more exams, no final grades, just a daily series of life assessments with no end. The day you graduate is the day you’re admitted into the postgraduate course of life, where as a working adult, you’re no longer given as many opportunities to make mistakes.
I believe that the working world is an opportunity to find greater meaning in life though, and I look forward to becoming a freshman in the “institution of life”.
What I want to focus on in this post is: regret. I don’t know why working people reminisce about the beauty of their university education, but I have a feeling it’s because they had more freedom then.
In an article in The Guardian, a palliative nurse describes the five most common regrets people have at the end of their lives. None of them are about worldly achievements:
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Shopping for frozen foods hardly comes out tops in an undergrad’s daily list of priorities. After all, there is always someone else to do the groceries and prepare the sumptuous dinners we enjoy after a tough day at school (right?). Well, getting our hands cold and frosty was the order of the day for my fun-loving friends and me the past month! We turned from students to frozen food gurus faster than you can microwave popcorn. And our motivation? Ta-da!