It is always fascinating to learn about the different paths that TIS alumni take after graduation. While some choose to explore new horizons in distant countries, Linda's decision to study at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) allows us to delve into her unique perspective on studying closer to home.

Let's take a look into Linda's journey and discover how she has found her first year at HKUST.

Not only did you receive the DSEDJ Lotus Award for Academic Excellence, but recently you were finally presented with the Governor General's Award for the highest academic average in grades 11 and 12. The actual physical award was a long time in coming due to Covid restrictions, how did it feel to eventually receive it?
It was a great resurgence of joy to be recognized for the hard work pre-university. To eventually receive it physically and meet up with Ms. Hubert after a while reminds me of how important it is to not forget those that supported me and what values have pushed me this far. 

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It’s been almost 12 months since you have gone to Hong Kong to study. How have you found the first year at University? Have you had any challenges?
Being a freshman in Hong Kong opens up a plethora of opportunities to explore this vibrant city. Doing so with the awesome people I have met brings a perfect balance to the hours spent studying or working. Additionally, having great friends and the right people by my side has been immensely helpful in overcoming the challenges I face as a freshman. Speaking of challenges, one thing is definitely adjustments to dorm life: shared toilets and rooms, which you cannot avoid in Hong Kong where “every inch of land is gold”. Individuals from different upbringings have different habits, though most are agreeable and good people…communication definitely helps but sometimes you may have to bear an unclean kitchen! 

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Do you have any personal or professional achievements you’d like to highlight or funny stories that you’d like to share about your first year?
After getting to know each other, our peers often gather around my friend and me during Statistics quizzes. These quizzes are multiple choice and taken on our devices, with the best 6 out of 7 quizzes accounting for 15% of our total course grade. It's interesting to note that usually no one sits in the front row, but during these quizzes, around 15 people crowd around us, and even the Professor finds it amusing and laughs along.

What have you learnt about yourself during this year?
A notable thing that I realized is that I strongly value the “work hard, play hard” motto and a balance in life. Though I do push myself, I am gradually aware of the importance of cherishing the bits of life. Make yours the best for you!

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You took a partial IB with the Alberta Diploma. How did that help you with the University enrolment process?
The enrolment process at HKUST unfortunately does not transfer credits for Business. However, it definitely serves as a valuable foundation and first hand preparation for entering a business school. Taking an entire course that covers a chapter or sub-chapter of the IB text can be immensely helpful.

We do know that finding the best fit university can be a gruelling process. How did you find the University enrolment process? How did the Academic Counsellors guide you through this process? 
Best fits are always hard to pick. My offer replies were staggered as many individuals’ were, given the various countries I had applied to. However, consistent and meaningful discussions with my Academic Counsellor to identify my values and interests helped a lot with the process. As well, my Academic Counsellor specifically suggested a rational choice approach: ranking my top 3-5 university choices with maximum 5 metrics, each with varying weights (how much I value them). Emotion is important to consider but also look for how objective measures play their role. 

How do you think TIS helped to prepare you for university and life in general after high school? What challenges/highlights have you experienced at university?
As an international school, a plus that TIS offered was definitely the comfort to work with anyone of any background and ability. Diversity, inclusivity, and the practice of soft skills such as teamwork, preps anyone well enough for a future of many opportunities. At university, a definite highlight would be my freedom to almost entirely plan my own study pathway, courses to take, and when I want time off.

Is there anything that you know now, that you wish you knew in Grade 11 & Grade 12?
To place health, happiness, and fun as a priority in life! 

Did you have any teachers/staff at TIS who influenced you? 
Those who stuck with me through my hardest times, who are patient and caring, and who try to understand, are truly remarkable. They recognise that everyone is flawed and view mistakes as an opportunity for growth. These individuals demonstrate their support through unseen but felt actions and allow me to speak out against discriminatory yet controversial comments. Many were present the last time I visited but some have left TIS. They know who they are. Thank you and bless!

How did your time at TIS influence you in your life?
Most importantly, I would say, are the people. I have learnt some lifelong lessons from teachers, staff, friends, and peers alike. 

What piece of advice would you like to share with our current students who’d like to attend Business School?
It's important to keep an open mind and not view everyone around you as competition. Instead, focus on collaboration and learning from each other. By fostering a growth mindset, you'll pave the way for long-term success and personal growth, regardless of the university or country you end up in. Make friends, be true and open, and just know you are trying YOUR best, which, fundamentally, is all that matters.

What makes you proud to be a TIS alum?
My fellow juniors! Happy to see those that I’ve positively impacted to embody positive values as they grow. A wholesome legacy. 

What word or phrase would you use to describe a TIS alumni?
Each uniquely but beautifully different.

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