Daring to be Different
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
I first read Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ when I was 15 years old. As a Singaporean teenager who grew up in a culture where rules were not meant to be broken and the education path which determined your path to success was set in stone, these words were foreign to me.
Hello everyone, my name is Divvya Dasan and I joined as the Marketing and Sales Consultant at CanopyLAB in July 2018.
Growing up in Singapore I was exposed to a rigorous education system, one where excellent grades were seen as the value of a person’s intelligence. To explain better, from the time Singaporeans enter primary school at the age of 7 we are prepared for the primary school leaving examinations which takes place when we are 12. We then move on to secondary school and instead of breathing a sigh of relief we are forced to prepare for our ‘O’-levels which are four years away – and so on and so forth. In short, the Singapore government is shaping students who only learn material that impacts their exams. Learning for fun does not EXIST!
At the age of 17 I decided that I would not be held hostage by Singapore’s unimaginative education system, and instead took the ‘road less traveled by’.
At the age of 17 I decided that I would not be held hostage by Singapore’s unimaginative education system, and instead took the ‘road less traveled by’; I left my traditional high school to represent Singapore at the United World College-USA (UWC-USA). UWC-USA is an international boarding school with a focus on peer learning and giving back to the community and it is here that my true love for learning began. My teachers forced me to challenge myself, for example, the art teacher, upon learning that I was told in Singapore that I could not draw, invited me to his studio to understand that there is more to art than drawing. He encouraged me to look at other mediums of art and express myself creatively through that. My economics teacher brought the dry subject to life by making it relevant to us – he gave us examples of how economic policies have impacted governments and vice versa. We did curriculum mandated projects but then we were pushed to do projects beyond the scope of work. My classmates too were sources of inspiration, they were not traditional success stories – 2 were gymnasts, 1 was an actress etc. These individuals brought a richness to my education that I had never before experienced.
I believe that by not following a traditional Singaporean educational track, I have been able to learn and grow both personally and professionally.
After high school, I attended a Liberal Arts College in the USA which I would never have considered before. Along with courses in my major (Economics), I took classes in Geology, History and Political Science. I believe that by not following a traditional Singaporean educational track, I have been able to learn and grow both personally and professionally. When I did my MBA I noticed that a lot of my classmates were experts in one field but could not navigate other courses successfully. For example the Accountants could ace the Finance and Accounting class but did poorly in the Marketing modules. I, on the other hand, was able to navigate the modules with much more ease and I attribute my success to the fact that my previous educational experiences set me up for success. My holistic education taught me to be flexible, agile and curious which are skills that are vital in today’s ever-changing workforce.
My “adaptive education” model taught me to take risks and this is especially true when you look at my career path.
Further my “adaptive education” model taught me to take risks and this is especially true when you look at my career path. Over the last seven years I have worked in a variety of industries in various functions, I have worked as a public relations executive, a strategy consultant and prior to my MBA I was the Events Manager in-charge of Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australia. In these roles, I worked for financial institutions, healthcare companies and even a research consulting firm. While most may be believe that there is little synergy between my roles and the industries I worked in, I believe there was one common link – I was constantly learning.
It is now therefore my time to give back to other students and life-long learners through CanopyLAB.
It is now therefore my time to give back to other students and life-long learners through CanopyLAB. Through CanopyLAB I hope to break the traditional education models and instead work with the team to create innovative and fun ways of learning. As a Marketing and Sales Consultant at CanopyLAB I will be working on building the company’s brand value. Please reach out to me via our social media channels to let me know what we can do to create a better learning experience for you.