SP student buries herself in school work after parents divorce, earns 6 points in O-Levels

This article was contributed by Singapore Polytechnic.

Graduate: Kirstin Yip Su Jun

Awards: Toh Chin Chye Gold Medal, Singapore Press Holdings Gold Medal

How many 12-year- olds can say they wrote about their dad’s death as part of a composition piece? Kirstin Yip Su Jun did and all for the love for creative writing.

Realising her passion for it, the CHIJ Toa Payoh graduate wasted no time and applied to Singapore Polytechnic’s (SP) Diploma in Creative Writing for TV and New Media (DTVM) through the Direct Poly Admissions. To her, SP was a natural first choice as it is the only polytechnic in Singapore that offers a specialised creative writing course.

Just when she thought she had everything planned out, her parents announced their divorce. Kirstin responded to the adversity by burying herself into school work.

The dedicated student’s hard work paid off and earned her six points for the G.C.E ‘O’ Levels. Kirstin’s score could gain her entry to top junior colleges but nothing could overwrite her ardour for writing.

Not only did the Model Student Award recipient do well for her studies in SP, she also excelled in a plethora of co-curricular activities. Kirstin assumed the role of Secretary-General for the S Rajaratnam Endowment-Youth Model ASEAN Conference, where she led a team of 40 in organising the conference and communicated complicated protocols and concepts of issues to delegates.

She also facilitated a discussion forum with Ambassador-at-large, Prof. Chan Heng Chee and Minister of Social and Family Development, Mr Desmond Lee.

At SP, Kirstin also ventured on various overseas trips such as the overseas community involvement programme (CIP) to Surabaya, Indonesia, where she painted murals and taught students English.

She also went on the JENESYS 2016 Picture Book Programme to Japan where she and other participants wrote a children’s story book, which was displayed at Singapore’s National Library.

Being an SP Scholar also provided Kirstin with opportunities to go on overseas leadership programmes.

During her six-month internship at The Straits Times, Kirstin took on the role as an editorial intern and had many bylines in the English flagship. Some of her works include a two-page story on global elections – an achievement not many experienced journalists can claim.

Moving forward, the aspiring writer plans to take a gap year to intern at various social enterprises and media-related companies, and work on side projects to raise awareness on special needs, before furthering her studies.

Read more about Singapore Polytechnic's top graduates here.