career transitioner/ restarter
Senior Lecturer, Singapore Institute of Technology
(In her 40's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
Angela, once recognized for her determination and enthusiasm, had a successful career in the media industry until burnout and a cancer diagnosis derailed her. Amidst fear and uncertainty, she transformed her health and followed her childhood aspiration of becoming an educator. She took on a lecturer role. She also went back to studying, building her credentials and ability step-by-step, from a certificate to a Master degree in Psychology, eventually pursuing a PhD at the age of 50! She said, "I may be the oldest PhD in my cohort, but learning keeps me youthful!"
Although challenging to transit into a different field, Angela's determination and resilience carried her through. She drew on her own life experiences to specialize as an Emotion Researcher, to help others develop emotional well-being and courage to pursue their dreams in life.
Beyond teaching, Angela authored a book, delivered a TEDx talk, and crafted the 'Emotional Baggage Board Game' with a Chemistry Team that fostered emotional literacy.
Her journey is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the transformative power of education. She inspires us to see that sometimes the most challenging experiences can open doors to the most beautiful transformations.
Ultimately, what sets Angela apart is her unwavering spirit, her capacity to turn adversity into opportunity, and her dedication to uplifting those around her, making her an extraordinary individual whose story serves as an inspiration to all.
In her own words:
Embarking on this educational journey later in life has been a profound and transformative experience. I'm often reminded of how my path differs from that of my younger peers, and while it hasn't been easy, it's been incredibly rewarding. Returning to school at the age of 43, after a two-decade hiatus, was a significant decision. I started with a certificate in training (ACTA) and then progressed to a post-grad Diploma in Positive Psychology, followed by a Master in Positive Psychology. Now, I find myself on the path towards a PhD in Organizational Psychology.
Biggest challenge thus far
One of the immediate challenges I faced was the realization that I was slower in grasping concepts and technology compared to my younger classmates. My eyesight wasn't as sharp, and my memory wasn't as reliable. Add to that the responsibility of juggling a new career, and the journey seemed daunting. There were nights when I had to burn the midnight oil after a full day of work, and fatigue sometimes made me question if I should continue. But I'm grateful that I persisted.
This transformation was not just about climbing the academic ladder; it was about the profound internal growth that accompanied it. Moving from a leadership role where I managed others to now reporting to younger colleagues with more experience has been a significant shift. Initially, it posed challenges, but I've embraced it as an opportunity to learn and grow. It required me to be receptive to learning, to accept feedback, and to recognize that expertise is built step by step. Each stride I made reaffirmed my dedication to the field and reinforced my commitment to becoming the best educator I could be. It has reinforced that age isn't the sole measure of expertise and encouraged me to value everyone's contributions. This change has ultimately enriched my professional development and fostered a more inclusive work environment.
In retrospect, I can confidently say that the challenges I faced, the sacrifices I made, and the personal growth I experienced in this transition have all been worth it. I can say that this transition, though daunting at first, has been one of the most fulfilling decisions of my life. It taught me the value of pursuing one's dreams without delay, regardless of age or prior achievements. It underscored the importance of humility in the pursuit of knowledge and personal growth. In the end, the journey itself has been a rich and rewarding experience, one that I would not trade for anything.
what judges say
Very inspiring on various fronts