“I started working when I was 17. Maybe it’s because I was affected by a lot of things that was happening at home – my parents separated when I was 15 – so I did really badly in secondary school.

I had this mentality that if I started earning my own money, I won’t have to depend on anyone for a living. But when I went out into the real world and started my first job, I began to realise the importance of certs.

My boss actually sponsored my Diploma when I was 20, and after I got my cert, I applied for a university because I realised a Diploma wasn’t enough to climb the corporate ladder.

You’re never getting the pay you want without a Degree in Singapore. I was working and schooling, so it was easier for me to understand what I was learning in school because I could relate to what was happening at work.

You can say that my attitude towards school became different as I grew older. I now see the importance of excelling in school, and when I got upset about getting Bs or Cs, my parents told me not to be so hard on myself.

They told me they’re already proud of me for making the decision to continue my education. It feels nice to get that feedback from them. Now, I actually have my eyes on a Master’s degree.” – Immelia, 29