As a child, Ms Choy Yin Shan was always curious about ships.
"How do ships made of steel float on water? Where do the goods in ships go to?" she wondered. It was later in secondary school that her teachers told her about the maritime industry and Singapore's role as one of the world's busiest ports.
The former Yuan Ching Secondary School student decided to enrol herself in Singapore Polytechnic's (SP) maritime business course after her O levels, despite qualifying for junior college.
"I heard that polytechnic was more fun than junior college. My parents let me choose what I wanted to do based on interest," said Ms Choy, who graduated this year with a grade point average of 3.8.
The 20-year-old daughter of a machinist and a housewife was also the valedictorian for the graduation ceremony last Thursday.
Her older brother is studying mechanical engineering at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
EAGER TO GAIN EXPERIENCE
I think the diploma is good enough for me to venture out to work and there are many opportunities, even without a degree.
MS CHOY YIN SHAN
Her three years at SP have given her an insight into the operations management that goes on at ports and taught her how container space on board a ship is managed.
She also picked up knowledge in electronic commerce and maritime law along the way.
A six-month internship with a shipping registration company during her second year gave her the chance to help out with events in the maritime industry as a training coordinator.
She has applied to NTU's maritime studies degree course, but is undecided on her plans, even though some of her peers have already chosen the university route.
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"I am still thinking whether to study or work first. I want to gain more knowledge and further my interest in this field," said Ms Choy, who hopes to work in the oil or ship management sector.
"I think the diploma is good enough for me to venture out to work and there are many opportunities, even without a degree."
"I believe that skills are more important and pay will rise with experience."