Now working as a temporary journalist with The New Paper, I was at a loss about what to do after getting rejected by local universities of my choice this year.

I felt defeated, and given my family's financial situation, I did not consider the idea of taking a gap year.

I needed someone to give me a direction in life and an opportunity arose for me to attend a counselling session with an MOE Education and Career Guidance counsellor.

As I filled out the required quiz and worksheet to indicate my career interests and values prior to the session, I was sceptical about how it would benefit me.

But when I met Ms Dorothea Yeo, a counsellor from NP, last week, she gave me valuable life advice and persuaded me to look past my immediate predicament and focus on the bigger picture.

Now into my 11th month in the newsroom, I told her that the experiences it had given me developed my interests, and I wanted to major in either sociology or political science at university level.

I have a keen interest in foreign workers and terrorism-related issues, and I hope to become a full-time reporter who is able to explore these subjects extensively and make an impact through my work.

She urged me to consider applying again next year, and meanwhile encouraged me to hone my videography and photography skills because those are essential skills which would enhance my portfolio greatly, especially in the digital realm.

She added that this would be a good time for me to continue working, gain more experience, and save money for my university fees next year.

After the session, I realised that I had been fixated on my current circumstances and had neglected my long-term goals. After some reflection, I recognised that while I would be taking a longer route than others, the journey would surely be as exciting if I head out with a positive mindset.