Your university and major
I am majoring in History at University of California-Davis.
What are the challenges in transitioning from high school to university?
One of the biggest challenges for me was definitely making friends. In STC, you’ve known the same cohort of people since SJS and it was more difficult than I thought to go from that level of familiarity to a big public university. In university, everyone also has more freedom to decide who they make friends with and I feel like you lose the natural way people made friends in high school, repeatedly seeing the same people in the same context every day. I had to teach myself to reach out more and start the conversation first, which as an introvert, was and still is challenging for me.
What is the greatest experience in your first year of university studies?
I wouldn’t say I’ve had one outstanding great experience because of COVID but I’ve realised I’m slowly settling into this new place and country. For example, the first time I lost track of time talking to a new friend or the first time I felt like I had a friend group.
What is the biggest challenge that you have had so far in your year one study?
Other than making friends, another challenge I’ve faced is just being incredibly homesick. I suppose as an international student, I’ve found myself getting jealous of all the domestic students. If they struggled to fit in at college, they had their family and childhood friends to fall back on. If I struggled to fit in, that was it. I’d be an isolated human in a place where everyone was a stranger. When I was at the peak of my homesickness, it really bothered me when I’d talk about Hong Kong and I’d realise that literally no one around truly got what I was talking about. It’s something that still bothers me to this day and I do still get envious of those around me but it is something I’ve gotten better over time.
Tips / advice to the STC high school students on their HE planning / applications?
Please look at the programs you’re applying to and not just focus on the university rankings or image. I am very thankful that the history program at UC Davis is pretty good.