Obstacles Turned Stepping Stones
by |September 9, 2020 -- Updated 19:25

By Joshva Calvin Paul

A special needs student, William Tay Qi Yang explained how he overcame his many learning challenges to become the leader he is today.

With a D7 for his English language in GCE O-Levels, William Tay Qi Yang knew he was unable to apply for most polytechnics. Nonetheless, he managed to get enrolled in Republic Polytechnic (RP) to pursue a Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science (DPHM).

As a special needs student, William struggled to keep up with his peers
and daily lessons. “I process information much slower especially when it comes to hearing and comprehension. Lessons were not easy. There were times I learnt almost nothing as I did not understand the lessons at all,” William professed.

Greater efforts on his part was definitely needed. To overcome this learning hurdle, William would meet up with his facilitators after each lesson to clarify any doubts. During lessons, he also consulted his classmates who were more than willing to help and guide him. But through RP’s fund for special needs students, William was able to acquire the “Roger Pen”, an accessory that aids the hearing impaired by filtering out background noise which would then help him to focus on his facilitator’s voice better.

William’s achievement in the Director’s Roll of Honour in the first semester owed largely to his own motivation, a positive mindset, as well as family support.

“My parents often tell me that I can overcome any challenges and setbacks as long as I continue to put in the effort. Their continuous support and motivation enabled me to overcome any emotional meltdowns so that I could continue working hard no matter how difficult they were,” says William.

HELPING HANDS: William Tay Qi Yang (first from the middle right) with
his final year project team and facilitator Dr Nikhil Sachdeva (PHOTO BY:

Getting involved in WINGS programme has also helped William build confidence and develop leadership skills. “I had the opportunity to take up various leadership roles and help the lecturers during events. The events
held significant learning points for me which I could learn from and apply to my various modules such as the Singapore Pharmacy Congress and the Earn and Learn programme,” he added. William’s active involvement in the WINGS programme had also led him to receive the Republic Award.

William’s love for chemistry and his Final Year Project, which involved everything about drugs, have provoked an interest to further his studies in Chemistry and Biological Chemistry at Nanyang Technological University.

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