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20 Nov 2020 | Sarah

Jeevan: A Surreal Change

"I didn't see what potential there was before, and I thought my life would be like this forever. I wanted to do something different, and Bettr was a huge stepping stone for me."

My name is Jeevan and I’m a graduate of HT27 (Bettr Holistic Training programme cohort #27). I never expected myself to get to where I am now. Three years ago, I dropped out of school, did some things, and ended up on probation. At that point in time, I thought that this would be the end for me - this is how it’s going to be for the rest of my life. I woke up one day and realised I didn't want this anymore, I wanted to do something different.

I’ve always known that I have a good heart, although some of my actions were wrong. When I was a runaway from home for about two years, I mixed around with the wrong people. But those things had to happen to lead me here. Everything that happens in life leads you somewhere.

Something pushed me to change and it was a tough process. That’s when I resolved to find a job. I went to 20 interviews in two months, but they all rejected me because of my probation. They wouldn’t trust me. It was actually very demoralising, and I just wanted to give up.

"I thought: What can I do? What can I achieve if I have to go through another 20 or 30 interviews like this? My dad was also jobless at that time, so it was hard on us.

It was tough until I came to Bettr. I didn’t expect to get accepted and I was mentally drained after all those rejections. When I was accepted, I was quite happy and really looking forward to it as something that could change my life."

It was five days per week so I had to push my friends aside and focus on the programme. Then you're surrounded by people who really want you to change and who believe in you for a solid two months of training.

I thought it was just a coffee programme, so I was surprised by how much I looked forward to the EQ sessions! We did those sessions over Zoom during circuit breaker and I found a community of people I could share my feelings with openly. They listened and never judged.

So to Bettr Barista and all who make the program possible: I appreciate the support and guidance throughout the 4 month program. It's not about just learning to make coffee. It’s about changing the lives of people like me, who have already lost hope, and now found new hopes and in fact are very ready to face more challenges to come.

“I’m only 18 and there’s so much I know I can achieve now. I still don’t know my full potential.”

If you take the initiative to come down and learn coffee, you can expect to change because others want you to. Bettr is great because they don’t see you for the past or what you've done, but for what you can achieve in the future. They didn’t see me for what’s on the outside, but for what's on the inside and who I am. They wanted to nurture me. I’m happy because I finally had a chance to change, and I took that opportunity.

It’s surreal how much things have changed in the last three months. I didn’t expect to change so quickly. I dropped so many of my toxic “friends”. I realised it’s better to have one real friend than a thousand fake friends.

Before the programme, I would lose my patience over the smallest things, but now I’ve learnt to be more in control. I stay in Lakeside and every day I travel 20km to work at Five &2 Bistro in Punggol. It takes me 2 hours every day, but I still come because I really love this place. The way they treat me is like family. I’m not an easy person to handle, and my manager Fitz does a great job. He taught me a lot about how to interact with customers and how F&B works.


I’m a people person - I want to help people. In the future, I could continue in F&B or get a diploma in social sciences because I want to be a social worker. With what I’ve been through, I can understand how people feel. I’m only 18 and there’s so much I know I can achieve now. I still don’t know my full potential.

2020 has been challenging with the pandemic, but it has actually been the best year for me. It changed me as a person. I feel much more motivated, capable and driven to achieve whatever I want.

I’m only 18. If I can change the habits I’ve developed over the past 17 years in such a short amount of time, imagine my future in 3, 5 or even 10 years time? I’ve realised that things can really be different and I really didn’t expect this - it feels great.


Jeevan is employed at Five &2 Bistro and will join National Service at the end of 2020.