Many graduates today may struggle with the question of how and where they can find good jobs, or even how they can find meaning in the work they do.
But rather than being fixated with "searching for the something that will give us perfection", they can also think about how to do justice to their jobs, and ascribe meaning to each and every task that they undertake, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing yesterday.
Addressing 272 graduates from Temasek Polytechnic's (TP) School of Applied Science, who received their diplomas at a graduation ceremony, he compared this change of perspective to how one approaches a relationship.
He said: "Which is more important? Is it to marry the woman you love, or to love the woman you marry?"
Both are important, he said. But in today's world, where choices abound and searching for meaning may lead to failure and disappointment, "finding meaning will always be inferior to giving meaning (to) all that you do", said Mr Chan.
"Can we do justice to the job that we are doing? Can we do justice to the relationship that we are building? Can we give meaning to what we are doing?"
The minister also exhorted them to remain adaptable in a changing world, citing the example of veterinary technology graduate Sim Xin Xian.
Ms Sim, 20, received a job offer after an internship with Blue Aqua International, which provides aquaculture consulting services.
During her stint, she spent weeks on a shrimp farm in Lampung province in Sumatra, Indonesia. Despite the cultural and language barriers, she adjusted to life there and learnt how to communicate and get along with her co-workers.
"This is the kind of spirit that we want. You go to a new place, you don't know the people, you don't know the culture but with the skill sets that you have acquired at TP, you learn to adapt, and you will survive and you will excel," said Mr Chan.
A total of 5,800 students in full-time and part-time courses will receive their diplomas from TP this year.
Among those who stood out were Ms Phua Wei Si, 20, and Mr Puay Rui Yang, 21. Both are from the Baking and Culinary Science course and received TP's Skills Mastery Award.
The award, introduced this year, aims to recognise students who have demonstrated mastery of skills in areas related to their courses of study.
Ms Phua had won a number of medals at regional culinary competitions during her time at TP, including the Food and Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge last year, where she was pitted against professional chefs.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic also held the first of its graduation ceremonies yesterday, with Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Education Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim attending as the guest of honour.