Letters from the dorm: setting and achieving ambitious goals while also having a blast and making lifelong friends

By Tacye Hong, University of Toronto
By Tacye Hong, University of Toronto |

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Tacye Hong joined a food tour at Tai Ming Lane, Tai Po during her summer break in Hong Kong.

My final year at the University of Toronto has started and so the best summer of my life has come to an end.

In my last Letters from the Dorm article, I was trying to prove Lana Del Rey wrong by saying there is no such thing as Summertime Sadness, and I believe I managed to do just that.

When summer started back in May, I set myself several ambitious goals – to pass an actuarial science exam, take the Graduate Record Examination, do research at Chinese University (CUHK) and volunteer at the Children’s Council project. Four months later, I’m happy to say all of these goals have been achieved. Although it was stressful at times, I feel that the summer has been very fruitful.

The biggest highlight of my summer was definitely the eight weeks I spent at the Summer Undergraduate Research Project at CUHK. I conducted independent research supervised by a faculty member and, ultimately, got the chance to present it. It was an honour to show my research to students from other fields of study.

Going into the programme, I was not expecting anything that exceeded a normal research assistant’s duties, but the organisers were kind enough to give me some great opportunities. The school organised several excursions that even locals like myself had never tried before. From cooking Chinese dumplings and enjoying local opera to exploring the heritage trail in Central, I got to be a tourist in my own city.

Since I had such an amazing time, I can only imagine how incredible it must have been for the students who are new to Hong Kong.

Another highlight was meeting fellow University of Toronto students, including some studying in Sweden and London. I was happy to act as their tour guide in Hong Kong. However, they also introduced me to things that I even didn’t know existed. I made some lifelong friends during the programme, and I can’t wait until the next time I see them.

Now that I’m in my final year at university, I imagine it is going to be difficult trying to balance my studies, crossing items off my bucket list, and preparing myself for the “real world” of working for a living.

Although information sessions and graduate school applications will be stressful, I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds.

Edited by Ben Young