The Star: Get another degree

The Star: MOST students would heave a sigh of relief once they receive their scrolls.

College textbooks would be happily discarded, boxed, donated or sold at secondhand bookstores and therein begins the exciting stage of life when they join the nine-to-five crowd.

Not so for Adrianus Thio. Shortly after he completed his degree in Bioengineering at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, he settled into the gruelling life of a medical student at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

The 26-year-old Indonesian says being a medical student is tiring but not exhausting because he really enjoys learning.

He adds that the decision to study Medicine is akin to answering his calling.

“The medical field gives me more opportunities to have social interactions.

“I also realise that a clinical background is important to help me frame good research questions,” says Thio who received a scholarship to pursue Medicine.

In any case, medical schools in Australia only admit students who have completed undergraduate studies, just like in the United States.

Having completed a degree, Thio says he is better prepared to cope with the academic workload and he knows the learning styles that work.

“I find that students in Singapore are more focused on studies. In Australia, some students have to work part-time out of necessity and they also spend time to pursue their interests.

“In terms of being competitive or ‘kiasu’, it actually feels the same in both Singapore and Australia,” says Thio.

Meanwhile, Architecture student Jerald Yee Jun Chen says taking on another degree programme is his chance to follow his dreams after fulfulling his family’s wish of taking up a Psychology degree.

At 26, he is considered a mature student compared to his peers at a private university in the Klang Valley.

In Malaysia, the National Higher Education Fund Corporation only provides second education financing to students who continue studying at a higher level in the programme they had intially been granted a study loan.

It is virtually impossible for students to reapply to pursue a second degree at public universities unless they submit their applications to switch courses in the midst of their degree programme.

Although graduates are able to defer repaying their study loans until they start working, taking on another degree programme is a costly affair that will lead to a pool of over-qualified graduates in the job market.


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