Four years ago, I drove my daughter, Shu, to NTU and took a wrong turn at Jalan Bahar. She was enrolled in the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) reading Bachelor of Fine Arts. Yesterday, I drove again to NTU, on the same road so familiar to me now, to attend Shu’s convocation. I remember helping Shu to settle in Hall of Residence in her first year. We brought brooms, mops and pails to clean her room!
ADM was established in 2005. Shu was in the fifth batch. Why choose a fine arts/design course when she had been a science student all along during her secondary school and JC days? Shu had choices of degree programmes to pursue, from medicine to accountancy, courses that offer job opportunities and better salary. In the case of ADM, full-time permanent employment rate was only 61.9% and median basic monthly salary was $2,700 (based on 2012 Graduate Employment Survey).
Cohort size for the pioneer batch of ADM was 100 increasing to 168 graduates for this year. NAFA and LaSalle College of Arts also produce their own graduates for the industry. There is competition for jobs. We also know that design was not such a big thing in Singapore, unlike countries like United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea etc. Good designs sell products like hotcake. So why choose fine arts/design?
Shu was also an art elective student for six years in secondary school and JC. She found her passion in this area of study and as parents we supported her decision. Passion triumphed over reality of job opportunities. Four years of study passed quickly and Shu is happy with the learning journey.
It was also in 2009, when Shu and her mother started a venture using the label Momshoo. Momshoo is all about handmade items that are unique and personal, very much like a home-made gift from a friend. Shu dabbles with design to create saleable items, putting her creative flair to good use.
I was so used to graduation ceremonies, having been on the academic side of such ceremonies seeing our students receiving scrolls on stage. I went through two ceremonies myself as a graduating student. Yesterday’s convocation was my first as a parent.
How do I feel? I woke up early in the morning excited and we left the house early to beat the PIE morning traffic going towards Tuas. Because of the early morning rain, traffic was slow-moving. I was slightly anxious worrying that I might not get a car-park lot nearer to Nanyang Auditorium. Luckily, the rain stopped and I got my covered car-park lot! We did not feel rushed and was able to get good seats in the auditorium. I did what most parents would do; take photographs and video of Shu going on stage to receive her scroll. 30 seconds was all it took. That’s it for fours years of study!
We are proud of Shu and celebrated her learning journey. It was some times stressful but on the whole a very good journey.