Studies

Rejected from polytechnic 8 times, I looked for a way forward

Angel Mae Malanum // April 29, 2021, 11:36 am

Rejected from course 8 times

Polytechnic was the only place I envisioned going to after leaving secondary school.

Growing up in a family where all my older siblings had gone to polytechnic, it seemed like the natural path that I was set to take.

I also wanted to go there because of a course that I had been dreaming of for years — “Music Audio Technology” at Singapore Polytechnic.

I’ve always been passionate about listening to music as well writing it. In fact, I’ve written fifteen songs in the last two months!

Beyond passion, I’ve always felt that music is my calling from God. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy and something that I can use to serve the kingdom. Having been a vocalist in church for a while, I saw an education in music as a way to grow my talents and contribute more.

How I had dreamt of taking that course! That’s why it was so devastating that I didn’t make it into polytechnic even though I had tried eight times.

Believing I was a good-for-nothing, I had given up on my future

But let’s start first from the beginning, shall we?

In secondary school, I was in the Normal Academic (NA) stream. I was given the chance to enter polytechnic by taking the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP).

Basically, it’s a one-year programme designed to prepare NA students for polytechnic. I didn’t get into this programme.

I felt so small — as if I were standing in a room full of locked doors.

At that point, I wasn’t that upset because I knew that there were still other options like Secondary 5 and maybe ITE.

Then in Secondary 5, one of the things I applied for was the Early Admission Exercise (EAE). They look at your interview rather than your grades. I had thought that perhaps my passion would bring me through, but apparently it wasn’t enough.

There’s too much to recount, but the long and short of it was that I tried every way to get into polytechnic, but every door was closed.

I felt so small — as if I were standing in a room full of locked doors.

When I didn’t make it to polytechnic

I was confused because I knew that God had a calling for me in music. 

So I asked Him: “I thought You wanted me to get into a musical course? What am I going to do now? Where are you really calling me to?”

Lost and without any direction, I didn’t know where to go. It was the biggest disappointment of my life.

Devastated, I began questioning my calling. Is music something that God has really called me to? Or is it just something that I am passionate at?

All this time have I just been trying to convince myself that it’s my calling?

When I received the final news that I hadn’t been accepted into polytechnic, I couldn’t stop staring at the mail that bore the message. It just felt like all my hopes were dashed.

LIFE IS MORE THAN JUST A DESTINATION

Nevertheless, by the grace of God I was able to take a next step. I decided to pursue a diploma in Media Communications at PSB Academy, a private education institution.

It’s been a year since I’ve been in the course, and you know what? I quite enjoy it. Sure, it’s not music, but there’s still a part of the curriculum that deals with sound.

If I wanted to, I could be a sound engineer — I think that’s pretty cool. I could still work in the church, and I guess if it’s the closest I can get to music, then I will still go for it.

And God has blessed me unexpectedly too! Even though I’m not exactly studying what I aspire to do, I’m doing well in PSB Academy. I’m pleased to say that I’ve never had better grades! 

Though I had questioned if music was really my calling after I didn’t get into polytechnic, I still believe that God will definitely fulfil my music dream.

Because, as I reflect on my journey, I realised that God has actually been fulfilling it all this time by giving me opportunities to serve — I just hadn’t really realised it.

You see, I’ve been a vocalist in the youth ministry for a while now. During the weekly services, I lead the congregation in worship. Beyond that, I sing for events in church and help out with anything music-related as well.

I was also given the privilege to sing at a recent event organised by Kallos.

Then in January, I was invited to serve as a worship leader in church! It was a huge step of faith, one I took knowing that God was with me.

How do I find my calling in life?

Looking back at my journey, everything that has happened has helped me to become a better servant for God’s kingdom. That’s when I realised — a calling from God is more than just a place.

Places are temporary. We’re only there for a moment. My hopes are not dashed even if I can’t go to a particular place. It’s what is in my heart that matters.

That was my turning point. I realised that my calling from God is not polytechnic.

It’s about what God wants me to do for His people.

ALL PART OF THE PLAN 

“Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but who holds my future.”

That’s a quote I read in Kallos that I’ve been holding onto for a while now.

Things don’t always turn out the way we want them to. I wanted so badly to enter polytechnic, for instance, but it wasn’t God’s plan for me.

But you know what? I sincerely believe that everything will be made perfect in God’s timing.

I don’t know how the future will play out. I don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. But I know the One who is in control of my future.

My future is in God’s hands. Yes, I don’t know how the future will play out. I don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. But I know the One who is in control of my future.

I trust that God will continue to open doors for me. While the doors to polytechnic were closed, I believe that there will be other open doors for me. Each season of my life is a stepping stone in God’s ultimate plan for me.

All that I need to do is to trust God. For when I do that, I don’t have to be afraid. There’s no more fear about the future or where I’m heading.

Simply the knowledge that God will always make a way for me.

My future is in good hands

Even though it can be difficult, know that God cares for you.

Cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. There may seem to be nothing to thank God for, but there always is — especially upon reflection and the passage of time.

I didn’t see much to thank God for through that period, but now I realise I do. God sustained me. He sustained me through every hardship and rejection.

No matter what situation you’re in, continue to rejoice. Continue to thank God for being there for you. While we can’t always control how things turn out, we can control how we respond.

So hold onto your faith. Choose to trust God.

He’ll make sure everything will be okay.

THINK + TALK

  1. Recall a time in your life when things didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to.
  2. How did you respond?
  3. What are some truths you can stand upon when it comes to God’s will for your life?
  4. Know someone who may be walking through a disappointing season? Reach out to them this week with some encouragement! 🙂