Nursing student Geraldine Soo was turned away four times by two polytechnics.
Each rejection drove her to tears, but the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduate was determined to further her studies.
Ms Soo, 27, was eventually accepted by Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) on her fifth attempt.
She will be graduating with a Diploma in Health Sciences (Nursing) at the end of May as the course's top student.
Ms Soo's 10-year journey to graduation from polytechnic was long and arduous.
She wanted to be a nurse since she was in secondary school, but she was worried she couldn't get into ITE's nursing course.
"I've always been a slow learner in school and I kept failing Maths. It was depressing because I couldn't pass the subject even though I kept practising.
But she credits her teachers for giving her extra lessons, and she eventually made it.
After graduating from ITE, she was an enrolled nurse in Alexandra Hospital for four years.
Her responsibilities include bedside care, such as sponging and changing the diapers of patients in the critical care unit.