Written by: Mandy Ngoh
NTU students come from all walks of life, and some of us even lead a “double life”! In the day they are full-time students, but when the weekend rolls around, these students hustle for a bigger bank account and a better future. Our news editor, Mandy, interviews three students who exemplify this diligence and passion.
Tan Yu Ji, a Year 2 student majoring in Economics, shares with us his alter identity as a magician.
Mandy: Magic is such a niche career! How did you begin practicing magic?
Yu Ji: I started practicing magic as interest 9 years ago and I’ve been working professionally as a magician for 5 years. I have clocked more than 100 corporate shows and even travelled to Vietnam and Macau to perform magic. It still amazes me that what started off as a simple hobby has brought me so far now. I have to give credit to Meta Illusions, my company, and Alexander Yuen, my boss, for seeing the potential in me and giving me such great mentorship and guidance on my magic career.
Notice the camera in the foreground, his audience is definitely entertained!
Mandy: Those are amazing achievements. Have you ever taken a break from your career?
Yu Ji: I guess I took being a “broke uni kid” to the next level when I decided to continue working part-time despite starting my full-time university education in 2017. I juggle between performing multiple shows on weekends, late night shows, and occasional weekday events with my day to day routine of lectures, tutorials and assignments. You can thus imagine how busy I get when finals are nearing. Although most of us students put our lives to a stop just to study for finals, I cannot do the same because my clients are not taking finals and they will continue booking me for shows! Hence, I must make sure that my studies are always consistent and on par, if not ahead, so that it won’t affect my job and vice-versa.
Yu Ji at UOC Camp.
Mandy: If school and work are taking up so much of your time, do you have time for social and leisure activities?
Yu Ji: I have to admit, I’m a bit of a social butterfly and I do enjoy my time with my friends. However, some sacrifices have to be made. I’ve had to say no to my friends sometimes if I had to choose between a social gathering and a meeting to attend at the office. Thus, I am immensely grateful for all my friends who have continued to stay if my life despite being put on the backburner occasionally! I am also showered in love and support by my family and my girlfriend. Without these important people in my life, I may not be able to cope with my heavy workload.
Despite his busy schedule, Yu Ji still finds time for those who matter.
Mandy: Do you have any tips for those who want to embark on a similar route as yours?
Yu Ji: I believe in chasing my passions and dreams. Many people will tell you that the dreams you are chasing will not bring you success, money or even a future. As cliché as it sounds, I believe that if you believe in yourself, others will too, eventually! If you’ve ever looked at someone and thought that their success came easy or they were so lucky, think again! Because the truth is that one hardly sees what happens behind the scenes. Hard work is the key to success and there is no shortcut. I cannot say that I am successful now but I know that in order to be, I have to shed a lot more blood, sweat and tears.
If you’ve ever looked at someone and thought that their success came easy or they were so lucky, think again! Because the truth is that one hardly sees what happens behind the scenes. Hard work is the key to success and there is no shortcut. Yu Ji
Kane, a Year 3 student from Nanyang Business School who doubles up as an insurance agent for AIA, shared with us his time management tips.
Mandy: How do you manage the steep bell-curve of NBS while enjoying a sizeable income?
Kane: I started working and studying full time as I had very little commitment at first. I believe in making full use of my time. If you are able to manage your time well, you will realise you have a lot of free time to do whatever you want to do, whether you want to spend it with friends, playing games, etc. So in my free time, I choose to work.
Kane giving a presentation at his workplace.
Kane with his executive director.
Despite his tough schedule and demanding sales targets, Kane still found time to coach tennis for Hall 7.
Life is about give and take. If I choose to suffer now, my life will be much easier in the future. My only advice is to manage your priorities. Studies are definitely the No.1 priority. As long as you know your priorities well, managing your time should be a simple task. Kane
Lastly, we interviewed Aik Tan, a first-year student at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communications. He hustles as a bouncer at night. We certainly hope he is getting enough rest!
Mandy: Tell us more about your job.
Aik Tan: I work part-time at a nightclub every weekend. Working and studying is honestly quite a drag, especially since my job is at night and it totally kills my sleeping hours. Furthermore, I am always unable to go out on the weekends and I often have to reject invitations to hang out.
Aik Tan looking suave.
Aik Tan: But I have done well so far. I work because I need the money and I don’t want to put too much burden on my mother. When exams are coming up, I ask my boss for days off or I just study earlier so that I can burn my weekends working without worrying (too much) about my results. The key is to plan out your time well and not leave things to the last minute.
Money is important but so are friends!
The key is to plan out your time well and not leave things to the last minute. Aik Tan
The cases of our interviewees illustrate that working and studying full-time is not an impossible feat. They demonstrate exemplary time management skills, and recognise their priorities; they work because they have a bigger dream. Nonetheless, they understand that their studies are still important and do not let their work affect their studies. So here’s our challenge to you: why not give part-time jobs a go, as part of a bigger adventure?