One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Grd profile Raziq Ikhmal
FRIENDS FROM THE START: Raziq Ikhmal B Abdul Latif (Left) celebrates his achievements with another gold medallist, Ahmad Firdaus Mustafa Bin Zainuddin (Right). Ahmad has been his friend since the first day of orientation. They used to share their notes and help each other during the exam period. (PHOTO: MOUNISNI RAJ)

Raziq Ikhmal Abdul Latif took a longer route to university compared to his peers in JC, but is now on the verge of achieving his dream to be a doctor.

Raziq Ikhmal Abdul Latif thought his dream to be a doctor was effectively over after he failed his examinations at the end of his first year at Pioneer Junior College (JC). He spent too much time on his CCA, the AV Club, and neglected his studies.

Now, Raziq stands on the cusp of achieving his dream. The 22-year-old recently graduated from Republic Polytechnic with a Diploma in Biomedical Sciences and a perfect 4.0 GPA. He was also awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science.

“I’ve always had this dream of becoming a doctor,” Raziq told The Republican Post. “That’s why I went to Junior College, because I had no idea you could actually make it to university via polytechnic. I’ve always heard that it’s notoriously hard to get in via diploma.

Raziq started making alternative plans when he was told to retake his examinations at Pioneer JC. It was then he realised he could become a doctor by going to polytechnic courses like Biomedical Sciences. “I decided to do it. I had nothing to lose,” he said.

When he made the decision to go to a polytechnic, Raziq admitted his mother was disappointed. “She really wanted me to continue in JC, but that was moot once I got kicked out,” he said.

However, Raziq’s sister was supportive of his decision. “She was glad that I stopped wasting my time. I think my mother was so disappointed because I did the same as my sister,” he chuckled.

While he considered Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic, Raziq eventually chose RP. “It matched my cut-off point, and they had what I wanted,” he said.

Looking back, Raziq felt he made the right choice. “If I had gone to any other polytechnic, I probably wouldn’t have done that well. It would’ve been the same as going to JC. Lectures don’t really work for me,” said Raziq, who credited his success to the Problem-Based Learning pedagogy.

He added: “I probably would have been mediocre if I passed my exams (in JC). You know, doing okay but not spectacularly. But here at RP, it’s different. The teaching environment, the facilitators and classmates. Everything’s more tight-knit.

Raziq has applied to study either Medicine or Dentistry at the National University of Singapore. He paid tribute to the facilitators, especially Dr Esther Chng and Dr Janaki Shah, who encouraged him.

“I’m grateful for all the opportunities that RP has provided me, and the facilitators here especially, because they’ve helped me achieve the dream that I’ve always wanted,” said Raziq. “I managed to find my way, and because of them, I’m finally here.”