“I was put in different foster homes between the ages of seven and 17. Prior to that, my brother and I were placed in a children’s home. We were separated from our parents because there was a lot of negative influences and domestic violence in the household, so we had to be shifted out as soon as possible.

Growing up was difficult for me. Each time we were shifted to a new foster home, I had to move to a new school and leave my friends behind. It also took a long time to get used to having new parents. Not all foster parents have the same personality, so you need to know how to deal with certain things.

When I turned 19, I made the decision to be independent and live on my own. I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone anymore. At the time, I was in my final year at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), and I found it hard to cope with work and school. I decided it was best to defer my studies for a while to support myself, but I ended up deferring for two years.

I had to overcome a lot emotionally back then. Because of my childhood, I found it hard to trust people. I’d push away anyone who’d try to help because I figured everyone’s going to leave anyways. However, the one person who was there with me through it all was my NYP course manager Mr Lionel Teo.

He was always there to tolerate my nonsense. Even after I quit school, he would text me and check on me. Once in awhile, he would tag me in some motivational post on Facebook to help keep me going. After I managed to properly support myself, I eventually found the motivation to go back to school in 2015.

It took me five years, but I’m very excited to graduate with a Diploma in Sports and Wellness Management today. I love sports! I think sports brings everyone together, and I like how it originated from a need to survive. Javelin originated from men having to hunt for food, and competitive swimming originated from people having to swim across the sea to escape danger.

Yes, I do think it’s very important to complete your education. It’s not just the sense of achievement; it’s your passport to success. With education, you can conquer anything. They can steal your money or even your pride, but they can’t steal your education. For me, this is where life starts; no more sadness.” – Veronica, 23

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