For a year, she took on countless shifts as a tram commentator at Night Safari and saved her earnings for her psychology studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
But nobody expected the Temasek Junior College alumnus to give it all up just three months later.
Stephanie Lim, the local 23-year-old lead singer of local indie pop band HubbaBubbas, told M last week that she left for Vancouver in 2012 with a heavy heart despite wanting a shot at a different education system.
She said: "The moment I landed, I already felt like I should not be there. I should be back home, making music with HubbaBubbas."
Lim, who was born and raised in Vancouver till the age of three, formed HubbaBubbas with her former secondary school seniors, guitarist Ryan Chan and beatboxer Mervyn Ye in 2012.
The men, both 26, and Lim have been busking together ever since.
The trio released Amy(gdala) last Friday after almost two years of hard work. Their five-track debut EP topped the iTunes Singapore charts.
Lim said giving up her overseas education was all worth it as she "feels great to be home".
"I had a terrible, nagging feeling to come back to Singapore," she added.
"To me, every day that passed in Canada was another day I could be doing something else with HubbaBubbas.
"In the end, I told myself that if I already felt so miserable, I would feel much worse in the next four years."
Lim said she was more focused on music than on school and spent more time making music than studying.
She wrote the lyrics of Brave Is A State Of Mind, a track off Amy(gdala), during her stay in Vancouver and mustered the courage to tell her parents that she wanted to return to Singapore to pursue music - a decision they supported.
Lim, who held dual citizenship, gave up her Canadian citizenship and enrolled at the National University of Singapore, where she's now studying psychology.
Her bandmates are naturally glad to have her back, as it means more time for them to work on original material together.
They are also hoping to perform overseas at tours and music festivals.
Chan told M: "I'm all for this since it's something that would make Steph happy. I could tell she was miserable in Canada.
"I feel the pressure - since she made such a huge sacrifice, we have to work hard to make it worth it.
"HubbaBubbas will not stop here."
This article was first published on Aug 17, 2016.
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