An internship at the prestigious Imperial College London was the most memorable part of Shiek Abdullah Abdul Arshath’s education at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP). It changed his life, to some extent.
“I hardly had to cook or wash my own clothes before, as my homemaker mom took care of all of these things. Living out on my own for the first time taught me many life skills, including how to use the washing machine!” quipped the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering graduate, who now helps out with housework at home.
Having to live in a totally new environment for about five months, Arshath had to get out of his comfort zone and meet new friends. He also got to be very disciplined as he had to plan his own schedule to run experiments while catching up on his reading and chores. But it was all worth it.
Not only did he get to assist a renowned professor to conduct research on using plant cellulose to yield biofuel, he also met many researchers, became friends with PhD students from around the world, and attended lectures at the Imperial College. Arshath was gratified that the professor was happy with his work, and that he did not let NP and his lecturers down for giving him such a wonderful learning opportunity.
It is not difficult to understand why Arshath did not take every learning experience for granted. Coming from a humble background, he had to juggle his time giving tuition while studying, to lighten the financial burden on his family.
Despite this, the big-hearted student made the effort to help others less fortunate. He was active in BP-NP Mentoring Club, tutoring primary schoolers from low income families. As a member of the School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology’s Community Service Interest Group, he also volunteered as a befriender to dialysis patients at National Kidney Foundation.
Arshath now wants to give back by conducting motivational talks and sharing his learning experience with his juniors.
Keen to be a researcher in future, Arshath plans to further his studies in the field of chemical engineering. He has already been offered a place at several universities including Imperial College London and King's College London.
The Ngee Ann Polytechnic Outstanding Achievement Award is a premier award for all-round excellence. It is presented to a select group of five to 10 top graduates from each graduating batch of more than 5,000 students. The award was presented for the first time in 2010. This year, five Ngee Ann Polytechnic Outstanding Achievement Awards will be given.