Graduated - An Open Letter to all Graduates

1:35:00 PM

Firstly, a big congratulations to all the graduates who have graduated recently. You are finally FREE from studying!! Woohoo! Erm, unless you love studying so much that you plan to go for post graduate degrees! We can't imagine ourselves back in school again. No way! Unless it's for music studies then maybe yes ;) 

As graduates ourselves, we thought we should share a little bit on our life after graduation.



Ben graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from NUS last year after studying in NUS for 4 years. He was one of the "privileged" few who went through Honours year without having any honours. Haha. 


Kids, don't learn this. LOL!

Ben started his business when he was in Year 2 Sem 1 and during then, his grades were just slightly below 3rd class. At that point of time, he had to choose between trying to get better grades or the trying to scale up the business. Though he could actually try harder and aim for 3rd class or possibly 2nd lower, he chose the latter and have never regretted his decision since. Some people felt that he gave up on his grades early, but in actual fact, the real reason for not paying too much attention to his studies was because he had found his passion and direction in life - To be an entrepreneur, to have his own business

Education is very important and it was his parents' dream for him to graduate from University, which is why he still chose to at least complete his education. To juggle his businesses and school work was really tough and most of the time he slept around 4-6 hours a day. There were times that he wished that he could just inject caffeine in his blood. Yea, he was that determined to maximise his time. It was tough, but his determination paid off.




He knows what his priorities are, and that is to build his business to a level where he can comfortably have a at least a graduate's salary when he graduates. His goal for University was even simpler. To pass all his modules and get at least 1 A. And he managed to achieve all his goals! :) Our advice to you is very simple. Don't just set goals and work your butt off to try to achieve them. Because you will probably be very disappointed if you fall way too short of your goals. Instead, set REALISTIC goals! If you want to be a millionaire by age 30, that is perfectly fine! But if you are already 29 and only have $1000 worth of assets...possible? Well, definitely possible. But how realistic is it? Don't rely on the lottery for that!


Read up on Ben's Job Experiences here :)


Mel graduated 3 years before Ben from Murdoch University (Australia) but did her entire university course in Singapore via SMa. There were not many options for her because she did not do well for her GCE A levels. Of course there was an option to audition for music conservatories or furthering her music studies overseas, but she decided to get a degree in commerce (marketing) and communications (public relations) so that she could enter the local workforce. 

While completing her degree, she started giving piano lessons part-time on weekends or sometimes on weekdays because she only had to go to school 2 - 3 times a week and only 3 hours each time. 

Her parents had intended for her to continue her music studies because she had already come this far, having completed 2 piano diplomas when she was 14. But her grades for other subjects was not good enough to land her with any music scholarships, so it was going to be costly to take her studies overseas to UK or US. It was quite pressuring for her as her parents were not that supportive of her decisions because this was never part of their plans for her. Nevertheless, they supported her financially throughout her university studies and it was one of Mel's happiest moments being able to graduate with a double major degree before she turned 21 :)




We believe there are some graduates who graduated feeling very upset that they have missed their target score by a little. There are also some who didn't do well and feel regretful, blaming themselves for the lack of hard work. But let me tell you this, your grades only matter initially (be it starting pay or entrance to a big MNC). After 2 - 3 years, your progress is usually based on your performance. So, you definitely still have a chance to rise up the corporate ladder!

Also, if you do not graduate from a local university, be prepared to receive a lower starting pay as compared to other colleagues or friends who have graduated in one. Unfortunately, most employers still look at the origins of your certificate, which can be quite demoralising at the start. 


This is life.

But it is still possible for you to get promoted or leap higher and faster in the end if you're hardworking enough and make use of whatever opportunities that come your way. Because after you start work, your boss will only pay attention to your work ethics, and not which University you come from.


Read up on Mel's Job Experiences here :)

The reality of life after school is really kind of daunting, you are no longer in a cushioned environment, and you have to shoulder a lot more responsibilities. Now that you are starting to earn your own income, you have bills to take care of too. You suddenly feel that there are more problems in the working life, than in academic life. The problems of others naturally becomes your problem as well. If you happen to be servicing an angry client on behalf of your colleague who is away on a trip, it becomes your problem in the meantime. The home bills become your problem, your parents' hospital bills may become your problem, the worn out refrigerator and washing machine failing at home become your problem as well. 

Our advice to you, these are NOT problems. They are NOT your burden. They are your RESPONSIBILITIES. Don't see them as your stumbling blocks, but treat them as responsibilities that you must shoulder so that you can grow as an adult. No, a branded bag doesn't make you look more mature and elegant (well maybe physically). Instead, these innate responsibilities highlight your independence and maturity. Over time, you will start to feel proud of yourself that you are doing well enough to be able to help out at home, whether it is by buying groceries for that week or paying for family meals. These are just some ways to thank our parents for taking care of us and bringing us up for the past 20+ years.  

We just read an article a few days back via a friend's facebook share, which we find very meaningful:


"Most people hold the illusion that if only they had more money, their life would be better and they would be happier. Then they get rich, and that doesn’t happen, and it can throw them into a serious life crisis ... Whether you’re rich or not, make your life what you want it to be, and don’t use money as an excuse. Go out there, get involved, be active, pursue your passion, and make a difference."

Likewise, do not compare your salaries to your friends and feel upset if they are earning more than you do. It really doesn't matter how much you earn, it matters more how much you're able to save. We've realised how much we love our jobs and how happy we are going to work everyday, that we feel that we would never trade it for another job that comes with a better pay yet stressful life. But that being said, we still strive and work harder each day, hoping that our efforts would pay off because we could always do more and live more comfortably with a better income.  


Read up on how we save money together as a couple here :)






Lastly, but most importantly, we believe that one of the reasons why we were able to get through stressful university life was because of the strong support we had for each other throughout the entire journey. Though we both studied in different schools and knew nothing about each others' modules, we tried our best to help each other out, be it by taking turns to prepare meals for each other since our exams never really clashed or by motivating each other by studying together (although Ben would always fall asleep while Mel was studying, he says it's still considered "accompanying"). Haha! 

Mel also graduated much earlier than Ben, so she started working earlier than him. As she entered a new phase in life, into the workforce, she had to be mindful that Ben was still studying and had another 3 more years to go. At times, it was difficult to plan for holiday trips or celebrations because she would have to match her work schedule to Ben's exam schedule. Our birthdays are both in November and this was usually a hectic month for Ben as his exams would take place in this month. So we made it a point to celebrate earlier or after he was done!

We both had to be more understanding, compromising and patient with each other. 


So... Don't be afraid of the challenges ahead, embrace them so that you can grow with them. All the best to all graduates and welcome to adult life :)

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