Friends and Family Give Him the Strength to Thrive
School of Engineering

It’s no easy feat to consistently score distinctions throughout your poly years. But Benedict Tan, 21, pulled it off while holding part-time jobs to help his single parent mum AND heading a CCA in Nanyang Polytechnic! The Diploma in Aerospace Systems & Management graduand will be graduating this May with the distinguished Lee Kuan Yew Award and Thales Gold Medal.

We quizzed him on his life in NYP.

1) Who is your BFF in NYP?

Tan Yong Yu has been my BFF since secondary school days. We influenced each other to join NYP. Although he went to Aeronautical & Aerospace Technology, we still make an effort to meet up at least once a week.

He is someone I can always turn to for advice. He would never forget to send me birthday wishes every year. He would also encourage me before our examinations. We would always go for a feast after our common tests. 

My other BFF is Eugene Yap, from Nanotechnology & Materials Science. He’s in the same CCA as me – The Communicators – and he’s always got my back. Whenever I needed help, he would be there. We also work out at the gym together and travel to various places for delicious food. 

His support and encouragement has inspired me to put in my best effort in my CCA.

Benedict (middle in black) with his team from The Communicators

2) What’s your favourite food in NYP?

There’s just so much good food in NYP. To me, the best food is the “Ban Mian” at North Canteen. The stall vendor is extremely generous with her ingredients and what’s more, it comes at an affordable price! 


3) Name one memorable experience you had in NYP.

How aircrafts function and how airports are managed have always fascinated me. That’s partly why I applied for my course through EAE.

I remember clearly this module I took in Year 1: Fundamentals of Flight. The module required us to build different types of gliders using Styrofoam. Instead of learning from a textbook, we learnt the basics of aerodynamics through our own discoveries. We also had a mini competition to determine whose glider could move through the air for the longest period of time, and that was really fun. 


4) Who is your favourite lecturer and why?

Mr Toh Kian Joo. I got to know Mr Toh during the Poly Preparatory Programme (PPP). He taught us electronics. He is also very friendly and helpful, especially when we were doing hands-on activities. He is very patient when explaining certain concepts. As my personal mentor, he helped us to adjust to the poly environment. When I was applying for a scholarship in Year 2, he helped me with a recommendation letter. When there were carnivals in school, he would always give coupons to students.


5) What are your hobbies? What do you do during your free time? 

I enjoy cycling and reading. I like to read up on current affairs during my free time. I also watch Korean dramas, recommended by friends, like Doctors, Descendants of the Sun, and The Heirs 😅.  I really enjoy them and sometimes, I even re-watch entire seasons because they are just so good!


6) What is the biggest challenge you have faced in life? How did you overcome it?

Having self-discipline was one of the biggest challenges I faced as a polytechnic student. It was a big change from secondary school, and standards were also much higher. It doesn’t help that we are given more freedom and lecturers no longer “chase” us for homework.

In year 3, halfway through my internship at ST Aerospace, I had to take two weeks hospitalisation leave for a surgery. During this period, I used online tutorials to learn more about the software I have been using during my internship so that when I returned, I would be able to keep up with my work.

In polytechnic, students are assessed on a daily basis. Therefore, it is very important to keep up with the pace.  I try to eliminate all temptations and distractions, and ensure that I spend enough time studying. I also prioritise my assignments and activities.





Because We Can


For more Because We Can stories, please click here.