1. What does thriving mean to you?
Thriving does have the general meaning of prospering in our endeavours, and although that is very true, for me personally I find that I thrive both in the emotional and work-related aspects when I’m able to find a balance between achieving my career goals and my personal interests. It feels fulfilling as well.
2. With a Diploma, you managed to succeed in the interior design industry, with designs across local and international hotels. What do you think shaped you to become who you are today?
Simply put, I just found the career that combines my interests during my studies: art and mathematics. And I think I was also innately rebellious? A little bit? I didn’t like that we had to follow a linear process to succeed in life. I wanted to explore all the options available to me.
3. Society has a perception that a diploma alone won’t bring you far. What are your views on that?
It’s an understandable viewpoint when you look into our history, and definitely the most successful careers financially require degrees to stand out against the competition. For the ID industry, conversely, it’s what you’ve already accomplished (in terms of completed projects). Ideas can only take you so far, but execution is key to showing your experience and knowledge. So it was a perfect fit for me that degree wasn’t required. And society needs to learn to embrace that degree isn’t everything, and the future generations can succeed doing whatever they are passionate at. I do think it’s moving in that direction though!
4. What was something that you were proud of overcoming? How did you overcome it?
For me it was overcoming my fear of meeting my parents’ expectations. My dad was really emphasising the need for me to get a degree. I once even considered taking private A levels if it might get me into a degree course. But ultimately I had to just make my own path and confront them about it.
5. Who/what helped you push through?
My friends especially those in the same industry as me. They gave me the advice and support I needed to carry out the conversation.
6. What would you say to your peers or anyone else in society who is disheartened or who feel they cannot succeed due to lack of a degree or tertiary education?
There is no set path to success. Like Friedrich Nietzsche‘s famous quote: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If you’ve tried something and it didn’t work, it’s commendable and you’ve gotten yourself a valuable lesson!
7. If you can do/change anything in Singapore, what would you do?
So many things! Definitely, if we’re staying on topic, we all need to learn that you can do anything in life and you don’t need a degree. But of course what I’d like to change is general perception/awareness of the value of many jobs. It’s also part of the reason why we’re pushed to get the degree – your social status isn’t good enough with a diploma job. But that’s definitely changing.