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Redefining career trajectories: The power of lifelong learning

Often, we find ourselves bound by the misconception that our career path is inexorably linked to our initial academic pursuit. It is commonly assumed that studying engineering leads to a career as an engineer, or that a degree in banking and finance naturally steers one towards the finance sector. Sharon Low, 43, can relate to this notion. When she first embarked on her studies in Social Work and Japanese Studies, she envisioned herself as a missionary in Japan.  However, after completing the rigorous four-year programme, she unexpectedly found her calling as a medical social worker. This pivotal moment dramatically altered the trajectory of her career.

Fast forward two decades, and Sharon has transitioned from the social service sector to the education industry. Throughout her journey, she has honed her skills and amassed a wealth of experience spanning various domains, including curriculum development, student management, policy and governance, and most recently, marketing and outreach. Driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge and personal growth, Sharon consistently seeks out new roles and challenges. In 2021, amidst the global pandemic, she finally seized the opportunity to enroll in the esteemed Master of Education (Developmental Psychology) offered by the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NIE NTU, Singapore).

“For many individuals, pursuing a postgraduate degree serves as a means to gain a competitive edge in their careers. However, for me, the pursuit of personal development is equally paramount to my professional advancement,” shared Sharon. “Moreover, developmental psychology, with its profound connection to social work, has always intrigued me.”

At NIE, the Master of Education (Developmental Psychology) equips students with in-depth knowledge and understanding of cognitive, social and emotional development. Topics discussed include child and adolescent cognitive, social, emotional and moral development, current issues concerning youth and basic counselling skills.

Sharon commended the programme’s erudite faculty members who demonstrated unwavering expertise and ardour for the multifaceted aspects of human development in young children.  “The professors not only encouraged self-directed learning but also inspired me to explore research avenues to tackle real-life challenges,” Sharon reflected. “While my interest was in understanding the struggles faced by older adults, my supervisor not only urged me to delve deeper but also took the time to curate pertinent journal articles, fostering a spirit of curiosity within me. I remain indebted to Dr Teo Chua Tee for her patience and guidance, even when I embarked on this educational journey without a background in teaching.”

When asked if she would recommend NIE to her acquaintances, Sharon wholeheartedly agreed. “NIE’s faculty members are nurturing and supportive. Their dedication is unwavering, as they consistently update their instructional materials to keep pace with the ever-evolving landscape. They cultivate curiosity as a way of life and inspire a continuous thirst for knowledge, urging us to explore the intricacies of the world around us.”

Sharon’s story is a testament to the transformative power of lifelong learning and the invaluable rewards that stem from embracing new opportunities.

Whether you are an educator or a professional in an education setting, jumpstart your academic pursuit with NIE today. Applications for the January 2024 intake are open until July 27, 2023 for research programmes. For more information, visit www.nie.edu.sg/jan2024.

If you missed the NIE Postgraduate & Continuing Education Fair 2023, you can watch programme-related talks and videos here: www.nie.edu.sg/pgce.

NIE is an autonomous institute under NTU, Singapore. It has consistently been ranked among the top 30 educational institutions in the world and the top five in Asia by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking.

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