Believing in oneself
With sheer grit and diligence, Nigel Peh has been awarded Recipient of PSB Academy and University of Newcastle Singapore Prize for Academic Excellence, as well as the university’s Faculty of Health and Medicine Medal. He shares more about his academic journey and personal beliefs which helped him overcome his challenges.
How do you feel about being awarded the two accolades by UON?
It was a very pleasant surprise. For sure, it acknowledged my effort during my studies at PSB Academy. In addition, it has reinforced my self-confidence and encouraged me to express my views and ideas to my superiors at work. I am also planning to further my education next year.
We know you encountered an accident which made learning more challenging for you.
When I was 18, I had a bad fall during a street soccer match and hit the back of my head hard on the concrete floor of the court. The nine days I was hospitalised was extremely stressful for me and my family, as I had a deep laceration of 5 cm in length resulting in profuse bleeding, and I had to be admitted to ICU and endured many tests. Eventually, as there was no significant increase in the size of the haemorrhage, I was deemed fit for discharge.
There were after effects after my accident though. I became more forgetful and could not remember things as well. I started to take down a lot more notes in my organizer and plan ahead.
What were some other challenges you faced in the course of your studies?
I presented a challenge to myself, by deciding to pay for my own degree school fees, so that I would be motivated to put in even more effort into my studies. To make sure my every cent counts, I also worked very hard to ensure good grades.
Another situation I found challenging was when there are group assignments. As the demographic of my classmates is quite dynamic, for example, some of them work on shifts, some need to work overtime, so our coming together for assignments can be quite a luxury, time-wise and mentally. Usually the team leader and planner, I will assign duties to each member for individual work on our own schedule, and I will compile our work.
What made you choose the route of furthering your studies with a private education institution (versus a local / national university)?
My results were affected by the accident and as a result, I could not enter my course of choice in local university. During my time in National Service, I researched on the options available for me and still allow me to pursue my passion in environmental study with relevance to my diploma. Finally in 2011, after assessing UON’s Bachelor of Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety delivered at PSB Academy, I decided it would be my choice.
In what ways has this course value added to your career / personal development? What kind of opportunities would you say this course has presented to you?
It has definitely enhanced my knowledge and widened access to more and new opportunities. I am now enabled to look farther in my career, not only in the area of environment, but also in safety and health.
How do you manage your time and any tips for prospective and other students?
First of all, I would say, proper planning. Before each trimester starts, I will review the time table and pick modules that have examination dates that are scheduled apart so that I can manage my revision schedule better.
For group assignments, communication with your group mates is important as everyone has his or her own commitment. Some of my classmates were even married with kids, so early planning, distribution of work and a proper working timeline to help everyone complete our work on time on time is critical.
What would be the one thing you’ll say to other / prospective students who are coping with challenges with their education?
Think carefully and be firm about your decision. After that, do proper planning on how you pay your school fee and which modules you should take first.
You can have access to all opportunities as long as you believe that you can do it!