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An HTH chat over Telegram between a freshman and a senior

First-year business student Pearl Lyn Goh and final-year Renaissance Engineering Programme senior Pavatharani Kumar use Telegram for many things, including HTH (heart-to-heart) chats about university life. Chrystal Chan takes a screenshot

Pavatharani Kumar
Pearl Lyn Goh

Pearl Lyn: Hey Pava, quick question. How do you juggle all your commitments and studying?

I’m having a hard time now coz I’m in the main committee for my school’s orientation camp, and the business club. I am also involved in the Union Orientation camp AND I play waterpolo LOL

Pava: Hi Pearl Lyn!

Yikes, that sounds so crazy! 😩

Pearl Lyn: Yeah it is :/ I’m falling behind…

Pava: I did many things in my second year too. I was in the Shell Eco-marathon and joined the REP group called Humanitarian Engineers and Leaders, where we make things that benefit people who are off-grid in Cambodia.

Pearl Lyn: Wow, how did you cope?

Pava: It’s all really about time management. I’m glad that at REP, we get the flexibility of watching many recorded lectures in our own time, so if I’m feeling really productive I can watch two or three a day and make time for other things.

I also have this really useful to-do list. Want to see it?

Pearl Lyn: Yes please!

Pava: So I list all the lectures I need to watch under each module I’m doing this semester. As you can see, I still have two lectures to go and all these tutorials to tackle.

Pearl Lyn: OMG this is so useful! Thanks for sharing!

Pava: No problem! Every time I miss a lecture I add it to this list. I try not to make a habit of missing lectures, but at least this means I have the flexibility to catch up on a lecture later when I’m not so swamped

This is what works for me, but you need to be disciplined enough to not push back too much or you’ll fall off the wagon.

Pearl Lyn: Oh man, I’m not that disciplined…

Pava: Also, always, always go for your tutorials

Pearl Lyn: I’ve not missed one so far!

Pava: Good! 👍 Tutorials are important because you get more face time. It’s also easier to ask questions because you’re in a smaller and cosier setting

Pearl Lyn: Haha I will! By the way, did you guys have to learn coding? What did you think about it?

Pava: Yeah, we have to learn it. It is an essential module in REP. TBH, I was resistant at first, but it is actually really fun and a good life skill. You know, in today’s context, it is very advantageous for us to know it.

Pearl Lyn: Eh, I’m not sure. Coding looks complicated…

I think we have to learn programming in our statistics module tho

Pava: That’s what I learnt too! You know what, when I was doing my internship, knowing coding came in surprisingly handy. All my colleagues were impressed when I created buttons on Excel.

Haha, it’s a good way to wow!

Also, I think all the big banks now require their management associates to know coding. I wanted to apply for the DBS associate programme and the very first test was a coding challenge.

Pearl Lyn: 😮

You know, it’s crazy but all my friends are already talking about internships.

Pava: I think since you are in your first year, you don’t need to stress about it yet. In my first year, I did a summer programme during the term break. I would definitely recommend you do that as you can take care of some AUs and still have fun. I chose to do all my difficult modules at Imperial College London as all you have to do is pass them. The grades you get won’t be reflected in your NTU transcript.

Pearl Lyn: Yeah, my seniors did that. But I have to do my mandatory internship next semester so I’m trying to find a company now.

How many internships did you do?

Pava: Two, both with Dyson. One in London and one in Singapore

Pearl Lyn: That’s so cool! Do you think your position as vice-president of the REP club helped you get your internship?

Pava: TBH I don’t know. It looks good on my resume but it also depends on what kind of position you’re looking at. Like, if I want a management position, then my leadership skills probably come in handy.

Pearl Lyn: Maybe it’s your grades then?

Pava: Possibly, but I don’t think I was hired entirely because of grades. I think I got my first internship because I managed to click with the interviewer when we discovered we both went to university through the poly route.

Pearl Lyn: But that’s not something I can prepare for

Pava: Yeah you can’t, but you can show the passion you have for the job you want to be hired for. Don’t try to fake it because it shows. Don’t go for an engineering interview if what you’re interested in is business.

You should also read up on the job and the company. Know what the company’s priorities are and how they align with yours, what you are interested in, how you can contribute to the company… that sort of thing

Pearl Lyn: Omg I feel stressed now 😩

Pava: Don’t worry too much! I think failing at interviews helps you to do better for the next one. I remember how I bombed my scholarship interview in poly. When I was asked who I wanted to meet if I could travel back in time, I actually said I wanted to see myself being born.

Pearl Lyn: OMG!! 😲

Pava: Yes! It was the most awkward thing ever but of course now I know better haha. Where are you planning on applying to?

Pearl Lyn: I am hoping to intern in an American company like Apple or Google.

Pava: Cool! You should definitely go for it. I remember seeing a fair share of job advertisements for Google and Apple in Singapore. You should just try. I think you may get lucky if you show enthusiasm and effort. Companies love interns

Pearl Lyn: I will, thank you!! 🙏