• Hong Kong Young Writer of the Year 2017, Poetry Winner 2018
  • GSIS President of MUN 2016-present
  • Student of the Year – English Linguist – 2nd Runner-Up
  • SPARK Debating Competition 2017 – Best Speaker – 1st Runner-Up
  • UK Senior Mathematics Challenge – Gold Award 2016-2018

From a young age, I was raised with high expectations. Both of my parents were the first members of their families to receive a university education. They worked tirelessly to build a life for me, a foundation for my success—but most importantly, they imbued within me the importance of hard work, of being the best student I could be.

However, when I was younger, I saw everything as an obligation. Responsibilities overwhelmed me with the fear of failure and the mentality that it would be better not to try than to risk being second best. I had no calling; no passion; no drive. It was only about three years ago when I finally saw that I could never be the best version of myself unless I was the main force driving myself forward.

That was when I discovered competition. It was the cold splash of water, the sudden realisation that as I held stubbornly to maintaining my report cards, my peers had been moving past me and experimenting in all kinds of extra-curricular endeavours. I found myself searching desperately for a goal, and the will to work towards it. Slowly, I came to understand the importance of trying—I might never be number one at one thing, but having variety is just as commendable; having the courage to try, even faced with possible disappointment, is even more respectable.

I found my passion in writing through years of reading to escape reality. To this day, writing is a choice, not a chore. From writing birthed an interest in other kinds of linguistic usage—I particularly enjoy argumentative speaking as well. Yet my interests are not limited to linguistics, because I love experimenting with new activities, new roles. My school, GSIS, has been crucial to building my confidence with its support, always encouraging students to be curious and responsible individuals. I am proud of how I have grown to become self-aware: able to assume leadership, yet still an enthusiastic team player.

I follow the principle that every competition, every activity and every assignment is something I take upon myself voluntarily, ensuring that I will devote full attention to them. This applies equally to service. When it comes to doing something for my community, I have found my cause in youth education, especially as GSIS has given me so many opportunities. The gap in quality of education from youth has a multiplied effect on the courses of people’s futures, and is what stops children from advancing in the society. Over the years, I have taken part in fundraisers and volunteered for charities that improve accessibility to education, and most recently, I am working on developing a mentorship programme for orphans in language self-expression skills. Helping others find their voices has never been more crucial in our media-infested world. To this end, I hope to study law at university in order to better understand the foundations of society’s interpersonal relationships and responsibilities—it will also enable me, through pro bono work, to give a voice to, and adequately represent, people who cannot afford it.

Finally, I want to end with another comment on the spirit of competition. In many respects, it has pushed me to strive for constant self-betterment. School is a relatively sheltered bubble of comfort; exposing myself to external activities has introduced me to many similar-minded people along different paths, united by common interests, greatly widening my perspective with their input. Yet on the other hand, rivalries between young people may hinder us from working together to achieve things greater than each individual. If we want a better society, we need to learn to accommodate, to collaborate, to share—across CVs, classrooms, and borders.