From being a defiant teenager to becoming a medical student – Amanda Chia is truly an inspiration to those who are determined to change their lives.
Just some five years ago, Amanda was a big girl, literally. Weighing 76kg at her heaviest when she was in secondary three, Amanda was often teased about her weight during gatherings with family and friends. At the same time, she was a rebellious teenager who mixed with bad company and was a constant headache for her teachers.
Like most stories that speak of turning their lives around, Amanda foresaw a bleak with her wayward friends and decided to take action. The turning point came when she befriended a different group of school mates and took up tchoukball as a sport to occupy her time. Her love for chocolates was severed and she lost some 20kg in just months!
From someone who used to fail her Mathematics in secondary two, she became the national top secondary five G.C.E ‘O’ Level student and scored five distinctions! Her achievement was even featured in the national newspapers!
Despite her good grades, she decided the polytechnic education was more suitable for her. Her personal experience with weight issues led her to pursue the Diploma in Nutrition, Health & Wellness at Singapore Polytechnic (SP).
Life at SP was hectic yet fun, and Amanda’s potential truly flourished – she was awarded the Temasek Education Foundation Sunburst Scholarship for her excellent academic achievements. The scholarship sponsors fully her tuition fees plus an additional $500 living allowance per month.
To get first-hand experience with health issues, she took part in various activities such as health screening, blood donation drive and health mapping exercise for senior citizens. During her final year, she was the advisor to the SP’s School of Chemical and Life Sciences’ Food and Nutrition Student Executive Committee. Her overall achievements led to her being named SP Model Student of the Year 2015 and the Outstanding Class Leader Award 2015.
Recognising that she has the ability to help the less fortunate, Amanda founded the SP Sign Language Club. She went through countless sleepless nights to nurture the club from its infancy stage to its current strength of more than 100 members. As President of the club, she spearheaded the development of the entire syllabus for members to learn the silent language.
During her first year in SP, Amanda founded the SP Sign Language Club.
Amanda also learned much from her internship with an organic food manufacturing company. She gained not just a deeper understanding on food and nutrition matters but also how to market products. From conducting baking classes, promoting organic wines, stocktaking to cleaning the shop, Amanda gained invaluable experience during her time there.
The former ‘big girl’ who now sports a healthy figure is now ready for a much bigger challenge. Having gained admission to study medicine at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, Amanda is now an aspiring doctor. As though being one of a small handful of students who entered medical school via polytechnic route isn’t difficult enough, Amanda holds is possibly the first student with ‘N’ level background to accomplish that.
SP alumni matriculated into NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine this year (from left): Rachel Tan, Shea Ng, Marcus Seah and Amanda Chia.
Graduating with an almost perfect Grade Point Average score of 3.968 out of a possible 4.0, Amanda was also named the valedictorian for her graduation session where she delivered an encouraging speech to her fellow graduands.
“I think deep inside anyone of us, if we realised that what we are doing is not quite right, we will be determined to change. Along the way, my family and church friends were my constant source of support and encouragement. If I didn’t have people like them who constantly spurred me on to follow my passion, I might have not done as well because this journey isn’t an easy one. I am humbled to be offered a place in medical school and will definitely work hard to realise my aspiration to help others in my community,” said Amanda.