When I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor and then I nearly died from dengue fever. That experience put me off. Then I wanted to be a lawyer because I enjoyed debating but my mum dashed my dreams when she pointed out that by the time I completed my studies it would be difficult to find a job. So I decided on writing. I was the editor of the yearbook when I did my diploma. I loved writing and I was interested in human behaviour.
I discovered Deakin because my parents were visiting the university fairs in Singapore and Deakin kept popping up. It was the top university at the time. I was doing my marketing diploma at one of the polytechnics in Singapore but the aim was always to go overseas. Deakin felt right and they gave me exactly what I wanted.
Deakin gave me confidence and drive
I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Public Relations), and graduated in 2003. If I were to describe Deakin with one word, it would be enriching. Deakin goes above and beyond just education and providing skillsets. They are about personal development.
Apart from the knowledge and skills I needed for my career, Deakin gave me the confidence to apply these skills and a desire to continue growing and developing myself. The internship program cemented all my knowledge. I was able to do mine in Singapore and my boss let me turn one of his rental spaces in Malaysia into a bubble tea shop as my project. I think Deakin was one of the first universities to start international internships.
A true international experience
When I first arrived in Melbourne I stayed at International House. Part of my course was taught at the Rusden and Toorak campuses, both of which do not exist anymore. I moved to Waurn Ponds for the journalism unit and lived in student residences for one semester before moving out with some friends. This was my first time living on campus and it was great. I could hand in my assignments at the very last minute!
Waurn Ponds was such a melting pot and Deakin’s ability to get all the cultures together was fantastic. There were multicultural days where every culture was represented in some way, whether through food, music or fashion. It was a great thing to do to help people understand other cultures.
I keep in touch with quite a number of the people I met at Deakin. They are from all over the world. Some have siblings who are studying at Deakin. I also keep in touch with some of my lecturers such as Mark Sheehan. He challenged me, motivated me and built my passion for public relations.
Pursuing exciting opportunities
After I finished my degree I returned to Singapore and started working for a book distribution company. I did the marketing campaign for Harry Potter and met authors such as Jeffery Archer and Jung Chang.
While I was there I decided to pursue my MBA and was head-hunted for a job at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) as an account manager. I have stayed there in various roles since then. I am currently Editor, Publications Manager and Head Librarian. I love everything about my job. I get sent books to review. I get to talk to interesting people from all walks of life. Now I’m getting to find out exactly what happens in libraries.
The advice I would give a person who is starting out in their career is to try starting in a small-to-medium enterprise. You will get opportunities that you won’t get in a big corporation where you will be one amongst thousands.