After three attempts, Muhammad Shafiq Bin Jalavddin finally secured a place to read the Physiotherapy degree programme at the Singapore Institute of Technology. The first-year student is embracing the opportunity and he is looking forward to embarking on a unique learning journey that is holistic, practical and industry-centric.
Shafiq is currently in his first year at SIT, pursuing a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Physiotherapy. He is a recipient of the SIT Scholarship. (Photo: Jacqueline Ho)
We always hear the phrase, “Never give up!” While it is easy to dish out the advice, doing it is a different matter as it takes plenty of focus, conviction and self-belief. Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) undergraduate Muhammad Shafiq Bin Jalavddin certainly has those qualities in spades.
Like many of his peers, Shafiq was applying to go to university after completing his GCE-A levels. At that time, he chose the Bachelor of Science with Honours in Physiotherapy programme at SIT, but was unfortunately rejected. He went on to apply again not once, but twice during his National Service (NS), and the outcomes were the same.
Most would have given up and gone for other university courses, but Shafiq was undeterred. After finishing his NS obligations, he took a path less trodden by pursuing a Diploma in Sports and Exercise Sciences at Republic Polytechnic. Armed with a new, more related qualification, Shafiq applied yet again for the Physiotherapy programme at SIT.
Four times proved to be a charm for Shafiq, as he finally was admitted into Singapore’s University of Applied Learning.
The football enthusiast suffered an injury that led him to discover the physiotherapy practice. (Photo: Muhammad Shafiq bin Jalavddin)
Kick-Starting a Passion
Shafiq’s laser focus to be a physiotherapist stemmed from his footballing days. He was playing for a National Football League Division 2 team in 2016 when he suffered an injury. He visited a physiotherapy clinic where he met Mr Hafiza Sujad, who is the Head Physiotherapist for the Singapore men’s football team.
Through the sessions, he realised that physiotherapists can help a patient improve his/her quality of life tremendously. He wants to pay it forward when he becomes a full-fledged physiotherapist upon graduation.
“It was fascinating to see how Mr Hafiza managed to give a diagnosis for the probable cause of my injury just by asking me to perform certain movements. He then worked on my injury and relieved me of my pain. That motivated me to be a physiotherapist,” he recalled.
“My interest was cemented during my internship at Physio Asia while I was studying at Republic Polytechnic. I really enjoyed bonding with patients as I interacted with them while assisting the physiotherapist.”
His decision to pursue the discipline at SIT never wavered since his first application.
“I am confident that SIT can give me the skills and knowledge to be an outstanding physiotherapist,” he said.
In addition to giving him a coveted place in the degree programme, SIT also offered a scholarship that will surely go a long way towards helping him achieve his ambitions. In addition to the coverage of tuition fees, an SIT Scholarship offers development opportunities and networks without the constraints of a bond.
“I firmly believe that SIT considers the non-academic qualities of applicants as well. They want students to exhibit strong morals and character,” said the SIT Scholar.
Indeed, life at SIT has been very fruitful and rewarding so far. Within the classrooms, Shafiq finds the lessons engaging, taught by lecturers who are always willing to go the extra mile for students.
“The lecturers are always ready to share their experiences and industry knowledge as physiotherapists. Beyond the academic modules, they also impart essential soft skills such as adaptability and the ability to think on your feet. They constantly give us moral support throughout every trimester.”
(In SIT, students go through trimesters – three study semesters in an academic year.) This is different from other universities where there are two semesters in an academic year.
Another distinctive feature at SIT is the Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP). For allied health programmes, the Clinical Practice Education (equivalent of the IWSP), which, for Physiotherapy, is a 30-week clinical placement embedded within the course of study, gives students like Shafiq an opportunity to apply what they have learned in an actual work environment.
In the process, students will also develop their professional network and interpersonal skills.
The SITizen is now pursuing an enriching learning journey at SIT. (Photo: Jacqueline Ho)
Exhibiting The SITizen-DNA
Most certainly, SIT takes an all-round approach to education and they appreciate students who exhibit skills that can invigorate the industry and the wider community. For Shafiq, he has proven to be ‘able to learn, unlearn and relearn’, embracing new opportunities and adapting quickly to change.
“I think very few of my course mates would know that I am 26 years old, and had three rejected applications at SIT. But, that didn’t stop me from taking a different approach by pursuing a Diploma in Sports and Exercise Science and applying to SIT again. I believe that having the grit to excel is as important as being smart or talented,” he asserted.
Shafiq has certainly scored a title-winning goal with SIT, as he gets to pursue the degree that he always wanted, in an environment that complements his personal ethos. Unsurprisingly, he encourages prospective students to put SIT at the top of their list.
“If you know what you really want to do in the future, SIT is the place to be. The lecturers at SIT not only impart practical knowledge, but will also ignite your ambition.”
This article was adapted from the BrightSparks July 2022 publication with the permission of CareerBuilder Singapore.
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