Have you ever felt lost, or wondered what life would be like if you had chosen a different field of study, or pursued a different passion?

Stella Teoh Sim Chee went through this, but instead of continuing on the not-so-right path, Stella decided to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.

“After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Material Science from a local university, I got a job as a quality engineer. But after just a few months, I realised I had no interest in the engineering field. I made the bold move of quitting my job, and was later hired as an accounts assistant. Even though I had absolutely no background in accounting, it dawned on me that this is where my passion lies!” the 37-year-old explains.

The eldest of three children, this Klang native had been in the accounting field for a decade when she decided it was time to get certified. She already had years of working experience, but Stella knew that getting an accounting degree mattered a great deal for her professional growth and success.

She enrolled as a Bachelor of Accounting (BAC) learner at Shah Alam Learning Centre in 2017. Four years later, she became the only graduate who passed with distinction in her cohort. And this year, she finally celebrated her success at the special convocation last February.

“The convocation was an amazing experience! I was really happy, and even though there were many restrictions in place due to Covid-19, my family still managed to take part by watching the live feed on YouTube,” she shares.

This accounts executive loves to jog and read, but since becoming a mother, she jokes that her current favourite pastime is sleeping. Her daughter is now 10-months old, and Stella still remembers how her pregnancy affected her studies.

Stella with her beloved infant daughter.

Stella explains, “I became pregnant in my third year of study. It was a struggle because I got tired easily and found it hard to concentrate. I had other challenges too, like managing time. I’d be so busy with work that I had to rush my assignments. But I was lucky because I had a wonderful course mate and friend with whom I could discuss and share. Without Jocelyn and the encouragement we gave one another, my journey would have been so much more difficult.”

Like all OUM learners, Stella had to switch to fully online study when the pandemic struck.

“This was my first experience with online classes and exams. But I actually found it better and more flexible, because I could easily go back to tutorial recordings when I needed to,” she recalls.

Looking back, Stella believes that online learning requires a lot of discipline. She has one advice for other learners: don’t miss your online classes.

“Tutorial attendance won’t affect your exam results, but that doesn’t mean you should skip them. Tutorials allow you to interact directly with your lecturers, so be punctual and consistent. If you really can’t make it, then make sure you refer to the recordings as they are a great resource,” she says.

Already considering getting certified under the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), she wholeheartedly believes that in life, nothing is impossible.

She concludes, “I was a science graduate, but I have managed to pick up something completely new, and be good at it. So, if I could do it, I’m sure others could too.”