Zairena’s Zest and Zeal
The spunky undergraduate of 22 years reminds one of the old German aphorism, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Once a dropout on the brink, she turns heads as the two-time awardee of Singapore General Hospital’s scholarship for both her diploma and degree courses in nursing. Zairena’s zest for living and zeal in serving her world was once but an unreachable dream, but through grit and discipline, she now lives her wildest reality.
In 2010, a secondary three normal academic student, Zairena was a constant concern and source of headache for her teachers at Outram Secondary School. She clocked only 50% attendance at school, beset by the lack of parental presence and support, the influence of reckless peers and a loss of direction. She was well on the way to becoming a school dropout but concerned form and subject teachers tried ways and means to draw her back. In the later half of the year, suddenly alone in the wake of broken relationships, she heard the voices of her classmates and teachers clearly. Gazing at her report card of ungraded subjects, it was as if a lightbulb came on in her head. Grateful that the school advanced her to secondary four, she knew the time had come to make a radical change. She looked around at her circumstances and decided she was not going to stay the same.
Applying new found discipline and focus, Zairena studied with a drive she has never known and did well enough to advance to secondary five. She failed to be admitted to the polytechnic however, and completed a Diploma in Paralegal Studies at Kaplan on a bursary from Sinda. On her second attempt, Zairena qualified for the Diploma in Health Sciences (Nursing) at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in 2015. The oldest child in a single parent family, the SGH scholarship she received helped pay for her daily expenses, allowing her to soar in her studies. Zairena came in the top 10% of her cohort every year, was consistently on the Director’s list and finally graduated with a diploma with merit that sent her straight into the second year of the Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Once again, Zairena was awarded the SGH scholarship that takes care of her daily allowances, freeing her to concentrate on her course of passion, perfecting her skills to help others.
In 2021, Zairena will begin her profession in which she found her calling; to serve the underprivileged, the sick and the needy. To be able to stretch out a helping hand and give hope to the helpless gives her meaning. Where she came from, Zairena has decided, will be where she sets out to make the world a better place. Because of the affirmation she has received from those who believed in her, she seeks to impart to those who need it the most. Zairena is ready to soar, with zest for the future and zeal for humanity.