He dropped out of school when he was 17 and worked in the food and beverage industry and sales before enlisting for National Service.
But when Mr Zoehairy Kosnani turned 26, he decided to go back to school.
"I wanted to give myself the opportunity to do so or I'd regret it in the future," said the 31-year-old, who had enrolled in ITE Bishan's Product Design course in 2006.
He did well in his two years there and went on to study Industrial Design in Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) School of Design.
This year, Mr Zoehairy is the team leader of the students responsible for designing the National Day Parade (NDP) funpack.
His team's submission trumped almost 200 other students from the design school to win the opportunity to design a prototype for the nation's biggest celebration and event.
The design school had divided their 200 students from all three academic years into groups for the project.
Mr Zoehairy and nine teammates worked together for six months on the design, whose brief demanded that the funpack could be used after the NDP.
He said: "We had to research on what material to use and how to make it unique so that people will reuse it."
Teammate Sasitharan Purushotham, 19, said: "We met about four times a week at the start. As the term grew busier, we had fewer meetings, but they were more intense."
But it was not all work and no play.
"We had a lot of fun as a group coming up with ideas and designing the prototype," said Mr Zoehairy.
"In fact, the most challenging thing for me was learning how to sew."
And the 10-year age gap between him and his teammates hardly affected the dynamics within the group.