24-year old Lim Yijie has truly come a long way since his younger wayward days. In primary and secondary school, he failed almost all subjects. Instead of studying, he preferred to spend most of his time watching soccer matches and television dramas.
Yijie obtained a score of 195 for his PSLE and subsequently a grand total of 30 points for five subjects at the 'O' levels. His poor results made his parents lose some hope in him. They were disappointed with Yijie. Scolding and nagging were lost on him. Some of his classmates looked down on him as well.
From Naval Base Secondary School, he joined the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) but the only child did not fare any better in ITE too. Yijie would rather spend time lazing at home than doing his tutorials and projects.
But all these took a turn in his second year at ITE. Yijie's usually strict mother was diagnosed with cancer. His cushy world came crashing down on him. Daily visits to the hospital were fraught with sights of his mother in pain and agony. It was then that Yijie vowed to do better. Improving his studies became a priority.
Graduating from ITE with a GPA of 2.3, Yijie's efforts to improve himself did not go unnoticed. He was given an award for being the most improved student. His mother's condition soon became better and the cancer was battled into remission after a year of treatment. Before enlisting into national service, Yijie secured a place in Singapore Polytechnic's (SP) School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
When he joined SP, Yijie found that with diligent self-study and research, he could excel in the Diploma in Computer and Network Technology course. He grew more confident and motivated to study harder when he topped the course in his first year. Graduating with a GPA of 3.972 out of 4, Yijie's arduous turnaround has earned him the Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal, an award for the most deserving graduate who has gone through the ITE route. This, perhaps, is one of the best gifts that a mother can receive from her child.
Besides his studies in polytechnic, Yijie was also an active member of the SP Ambassadorial Relations Corp. He recalls the many dignitaries and government officials who visited SP that he has helped to host. He was even nominated to represent the polytechnic as a customer service officer at the inaugural F1 night race last year. Not only did he see royalty, celebrities and Formula One drivers at the event, he even ushered Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Paddock!
Yijie will be taking up the National University of Singapore's offer to study Computer Engineering this August.