Help, I’m a blur sotong: 4 ways to choose your next place of education
Whether you’re receiving your A-Level results or your polytechnic diploma, it’s a nerve-wracking time.
After all, you’re going to be starting a new chapter in your life. But the question is, do you know where you’re going next?
Now that my season in polytechnic is coming to an end, I face this question all the time. Often my response is simply, “I don’t know.”
It’s a question that has come up constantly. In Secondary 3, I remember worrying over what I would study in the future before the O-Levels had even begun.
Do you know where you’re going next?
I started looking into courses, hoping that there would be one about writing, and there was: Singapore Polytechnic’s Diploma in Creative Writing for TV & New Media” (DTVM) caught my attention.
But because it looked relatively new (and the website wasn’t as developed as it is now) my family dissuaded me from considering it.
As the O-Level examinations approached, studying kept me busy. I couldn’t tear my focus away from my nine subjects to do research for my next steps. On top of that, I didn’t pray and ask God about what I should do.
Once my O-Levels were over, my mum sat me down one day and shared about her difficult experience studying in junior college (JC), despite being one of her secondary school’s best students.
I was later surprised to learn that if she had been given the option, she would have chosen to go to a polytechnic.
I love writing, and my mum just wanted me to be happy doing something I loved. She knew I wouldn’t survive in JC as studying has never been my forte, which was why she told me to pursue my passion.
Thanks to that talk, I looked at DTVM again. By God’s grace, I managed to get into the course and stepped into an unforgettable journey.
Today as I face the start of another chapter of my life in university, I’m again faced with the dreaded question.
But the difference is that I’m now better equipped to answer it – and maybe even help those who are facing the same struggle.
4 WAYS TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE
1. Ask God for guidance
Looking back, God provided me with guidance through the talk I had with my mum. That was what ultimately convinced me to put DTVM as my first choice.
I’d encourage you to commit your worries to God through prayer. It’s not limited to just studies. It can be about where you want to work too.
God has different ways of answering. It could be a word that is repeatedly mentioned in your conversations or a prompting in your heart.
Just be open to listening to God in any way – He may already be waiting to give you the answer.
I’ve also had the privilege to hear Pastor Benny Ho teach on calling and destiny before. He mentioned eight things that God uses to lead His people in the right path. I’ll list five of my favourites.
- Sovereignty of Scripture: Your decision must be in line with the Word of God.
- Spirit of the seeker: Make sure your heart’s intention is pure.
- Patience in prayer: Take out some time to pray to God about your worries and listen to what He has to say. Write down what He impresses upon you.
- Seek Christian counsel: Turn to your leaders and mentors for advice.
- Discipline of decision-making: Acknowledge that a decision needs to be made and don’t put it off.
Which of these ways have you tried? You never know what God might be waiting to tell you.
2. Do some research!
The only reason I wanted to go to JC was because my sister did. I thought going to JC would prove that I was smart, but that was a wrong motivation.
I would have been going in blind: I didn’t know anything about what I would be studying, just that there were art and science streams!
So wherever you’re intending to go, read up on the courses they have to offer first and find out about what you will be learning. It’s important to know what you’re getting into.
Start by visiting school and polytechnic websites to read up on the courses they are offering. You can also do it with a friend so you can help each other with questions you both may have.
Additionally, doing research might spark your interest in something you hadn’t tried or considered before!
3. Seek advice
I didn’t just ask for advice from my mum. Going for open houses in the different polytechnics allowed me to speak to seniors who had already gone through the curriculum and know what it’s like.
Open houses are online now, so maybe you can’t visit the schools as freely as you used to. That’s fine! If you have an older sibling (or friends who do) ask if they know someone from the course you’re interested in.
Doing research might spark your interest in something you hadn’t tried or considered before!
It’s a small world: your friends or family might just know someone who can help you out.
Then get in touch with them and ask for some contacts. In other words – networking!
There are gifts that God has given you like your abilities and passions. So take a piece of paper and a pen and write down a couple of things.
First, the talents that you have. It can be anything you’re good at or something people have commended you for.
Second, what are some burdens you have on your heart? Maybe you’ve always wanted to work with children. Perhaps you’re fired up when you’re helping fellow students in school?
There’s a reason these things are there in your heart. Thinking through them can give you clarity on what you can do , what you are passionate about and what you might want to pursue.
Another thing that can help is to draw a personal timeline.
From birth to today, label the significant events in your life whether good or bad.
By taking a step back to look at your life’s journey, identifying and processing what you have learnt from each event, the timeline can help you discern where God might be leading you next.
Compare where you’ve been with the next proposed step in your life. See if your passion is aligned to what you have in mind; consider how it helps you pursue God’s specific calling for your life.
Finally, whatever you decide, I’m hoping it will be somewhere God has called you to go, a place where you will grow more in Him as you start this new chapter in your life.
All the best, I’m rooting for you!
THINK + TALK
- What is your decision-making process when you face a crossroads in life?
- Is there a biblical model for decision-making?
- Whether they’re big or small, how might you align your plans with God’s this week?