Degree after 35 years

Degree after 35 years

Why do people do the things they do?

That was the question constantly on Mr Yam Hai Law's mind since his secondary school days.

He was interested in psychology, but his poor O-level results prevented him from furthering his studies.

He never gave up. And now, more than 35 years later, he has not only achieved his dream of getting a degree in psychology, but has also ended up as one of the top students in his cohort.

Mr Yam, 51, did not do well in secondary school as he was playful and did not concentrate on his studies.

After completing his O levels, he became a regular with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). He studied for two other diplomas - in resource management and organisational psychology - while in his 30s.

He said: "The more I learnt about psychology, the more I wanted to go even deeper to gain new knowledge."

This interest resulted in him volunteering to be a para-counsellor with RSAF in 2005.

After undergoing assessment and training, he counsels men who have problems adjusting to military life or are going through family issues.

In 2010, with the support and encouragement of his family, he decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science (Honours) Psychology with Counselling course at the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS), awarded by the University of Bradford in the UK.

He said: "It was not easy to start studying again. It took time for my 'engine' to start."

After four years of juggling work and studies, Mr Yam finally received his degree at the 19th MDIS-University of Bradford graduation ceremony last Saturday.

He graduated with first class honours, and was ranked third in his cohort of 21 students.

Mr Yam, who is still a regular with RSAF, said: "It was a personal challenge and I had a strong sense of achievement after finally getting my degree."

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