A Level results will be released in a few days. I’m sure many of you JC students are anxiously waiting for it. FINALLY, right? At this point in time, many of you will have to make an important decision on what you want to be in the future. Business, law, medicine, engineering, life sciences, etc, etc and the list goes on. It’s definitely difficult to make a choice between the one thousand and one different careers out there. What you pick will make a big impact on your future. I know of people who have studied something and dropped out halfway and also some others who don’t like what they study and have moved on to a different profession altogether. Now, what exactly should you pick? I’m no guru but I’m here to share my experience.
When I received my A Level results 3 years ago, I was pretty disappointed. I didn’t make the cut for what I wanted – Pharmacy. Since my Biology was pretty sucky (I got a C), I decided to capitalize on my strong point, Chemistry, and went on to apply for chemistry in NUS and NTU. I thought to myself: “Studying Chemistry won’t be that bad right? After all, I can do research or even teach. Another plus point is that the pay is GOOD.” Later on, during my National Service, I got accepted by NUS. For some weird reason, I went on to apply to NTU’s Chemistry and Biological Chemistry during my second year in NS. Of course I got accepted again. Right now, you readers must be wondering why is this guy changing and changing courses? Let me tell you, that’s not all, because I applied to change my course for the THIRD time after I ORD.
Crazy? Indecisive? Or am I just playing around? I need to tell you that this was the BEST and most HONEST decision that I have ever made. By a stroke of luck, I was injured during NS. One thing led to another and I got to experience something which many of you would not – Physiotherapy. After my surgery, I woke up to find myself crippled as I could not walk with the injured leg which was still healing. Without Physiotherapy, I would not have been able to regain my mobility, something which many people, including me at that point in time, took for granted. I saw and experienced for myself how this profession could help others regain their old lives back.
I was inspired by Physiotherapy and went on to research about it. I even went for a 3 weeks clinical attachment at TTSH, just to find out what it is like to work in a hospital. The working environment is good. Physiotherapists work closely with the doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals. It is like one big family. Furthermore, I enjoyed helping others and to bring back the smiles onto their faces. I had decided that this is the career for me – to be a Physiotherapist.
However, nothing in life is smooth sailing. I was pressurized by my parents to take up a proper degree course. Since I had a place at NTU, they wanted me to continue with that. I argued with them, even to the extent of shouting (Bad example here so please don’t follow me. I’ll teach you how to handle them later). Studying Physiotherapy in Singapore requires one to apply for admission into Nanyang Polytechnic, which is the only school in Singapore that offers the course. You see the sensitive word here? POLY. Why would I let my child study in a polytechnic after going through JC? What for waste his or her time to get a diploma? Why not get a degree instead? These were all my parents’ considerations. I will have to add that some parents might find it a disgrace to let their children study in a polytechnic after their JC. Did he or she fail their JC and had to resort to doing this?
Let me clarify the misconceptions. Yes it is true that we graduate with a Diploma in Physiotherapy. However, we only need 1 year to convert our diploma into a degree. We can either do this through Singapore Institute of Technology, who has collaborated with Trinity College Dublin to bring the degree conversion to a local setting, or we can also do it in affiliated UK or Australia universities. Singapore does not have this course in our local universities. Apart from the trouble of converting and the chances that you will not be able to do the degree conversion immediately after obtaining your diploma (Admission for degree conversion depends on our own merit at NYP. If one can’t do the degree conversion immediately, he or she can always choose to work first before converting again. The only difference is the pay. Everything else stays the same and we are still respectable specialists), I still find that this is a good and holistic course. We are expected to complete 1200 hours of clinical attachment in our 3 years and we get to practice for one year in an overseas setting (during our degree conversion). With all these practical experiences, we are every bit capable as a Physiotherapist when we graduate. Let me say that again. We are specialists. We are damn good in what we do.
After clearing these misconceptions, I believe your parents will be more willing to embrace the idea of studying in a polytechnic. If all else fails, try to show them a little passion and tell them that we can treat them next time. Yes, Physiotherapists are able to treat any ailment ranging from pain to swelling to stiffness, etc. Who doesn’t want free treatments, especially when it’s coming from your own kid? Haha!
Jokes aside, I took up the course and it’s been a year now and I have never regretted my decision. I’m even a scholar now, bonded to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. The healthcare sector is encouraging more and more students to become allied health professionals by awarding them with scholarships and sponsorships. The benefits that we get are every bit as good as the ones MOE award to Teachers wannabe – Tuition Fees, monthly allowance, etc. Best of all, these scholarships and sponsorships are readily given out to all allied health professionals in training.
Here’s a short summary of what to expect after getting into our course:
Textbooks and articles: You will have to purchase or borrow from our library these reference materials in order to get a decent grade. Expect lots and lots of reading, which gets progressively heavy over the years. You can liken your workload to almost comparable to medicine students. What we read during the first year are more or less the same as what they are required to read.
Practical sessions: Due to the hands on nature of our jobs, our course has incorporated a number of practical sessions to prepare us for our clinical attachments. We have many practical labs with plinths (beds) and other equipment for us to use during our practical sessions. After instructions by our lecturers, we will have to practice on each other (taking turns to be the Physiotherapist and patient). The basic number of lab sessions is never enough. You are allowed to book the labs as a class to further practice your skills if needed.
Clinical attachments: Under our course requirements, we will have to fulfil 1200 hours of clinical hours at hospitals, nursing home, special schools, etc. This will be spread out over the course of 3 years. Our progress is monitored by Clinical Educators, who are working Physiotherapists. These attachments are graded and count towards our GPA.
FRIENDLY and AWESOME community: Yes that’s right, most people who apply for our course are those who have a big heart and have decided to better the lives of others. We are definitely more friendly and helpful towards people, including our own. So don’t hesitate to seek the help or advice of your seniors if you need to!
If you have any other questions regarding our course, please proceed to our FAQ page for more information. I will be putting up a guide on how to apply for NYP when the Direct Admission Exercise for NYP opens this Friday. Do remember to check back then and I wish you all the best for your A Levels!
This entry was posted in Kelvin Tan and tagged 2012, A level, allied health, career, clinical attachments, degree conversion, diploma in physiotherapy, nanyang polytechnic, NYP, physiotherapist, physiotherapy, results, scholarships, school of health sciences, sponsorships.