Letters from the dorm: Last summer I learned more about the world - and myself

By Elaine Leung, 21, Year Three, Durham University, Britain
By Elaine Leung, 21, Year Three, Durham University, Britain |

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School has started, and you may be moaning about how quickly time flies when you are having fun or recalling those happy times you spent with friends pigging out around the city. But instead I want to take a moment to reflect on how much we have grown over the summer holidays.

As I'm now in my final year at university, I spent my last student summer in the most expected way - internship, travel and preparing for my thesis. My personal development has been significant this summer. I have become more open-minded when it comes to new ideas; I have discovered a passion for an academic field that is different to my current one; and I have learned to appreciate different areas of Hong Kong.

I was inspired by all the exposure I got from my administration service internship with the government. I visited the chief secretary's residence at the Peak. I asked Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor how much sleep she gets during her busiest periods working for the government. It was as little as five hours a night.

Putting aside how most people see government officials, I have a new respect for them and their mission to do good for society - even if it means making personal sacrifices.

Now I hope to develop a stronger opinion on the government's stance on land supply, and not just on the heated debate over election reforms.

Another thing I did this summer was walk, or, more precisely, walk around the neighbourhood.

On a hot summer day in August, I walked around Kowloon City district - To Kwa Wan, Ho Man Tin and Hung Hom - and explored areas where old public housing blocks stand tall amid high-rise, modern residential buildings.

Oi Man Estate's 1970s twin-tower design caught my eye. The plan looks like two hollow squares, joined at the corner. Standing in the middle of the hollow square, I felt like a frog in the well that knows nothing of the great big world.

This also pretty much summed up my summer, where I realised every day how little I know.