Every 5 years of my life “with” HKUST

Here, I want to share with you a true story of my life “with” HKUST.

I visited HKUST at the open day in 1997. I still remember Prof. King Chow claimed that it was the beginning of a grand era in biological science. I still remember the campus tour led by the senior students. Amazingly, I still walk the same path even to this day. I knock on the door of a professor to express to him how much I loved HKUST and Biology. He promised to let me in and asked me to come on registration day. Unfortunately, my result in HKAL examination was poor. I woefully explained to the professor about the subpar quality of my result. I felt shameful and felt myself not worthy for studying at HKUST. This ultimately resulted in me making a very bad decision in my life. I did not show up at HKUST that day.

Eventually I became an applied Chemistry student in City U, I had done quite well in there and got a scholarship, also earning the Dean’s list award in 1999. Subsequently, I became an MPhil. student in a molecular biology lab specializing in marine research. In 2002, I tried to find some postgraduate courses related to cell signaling as a requirement for graduation. I contacted the general office of Biochemistry in HKUST and enrolled in the course “Cellular Regulation”. After five years, I was back in HKUST again, which was the secret reason that why I got a student ID of “01XXXXXX”.

My MPhil. study in City U was rather rough, but I eventually got my MPhil. in 2005. After that, I got a job in City U as a research assistant that focused on Chinese medicine research. In 2007, the Hong Kong standardization of Chinese Materia Medica (Phase III) has been launched by the Department of Health of the Hong Kong government. In that phase, City U joined the project but needed an advisor from another institution. Only HKUST agree to backup City U, and I was the only person being chosen for sending out to HKUST for learning. Once again, I returned to HKUST after another five years. I stayed in HKUST for 3 months and realized that it is time for me to fulfill my dream of studying in HKUST. I finally started my PhD in 2009. After many years of striving, this was the first taste of being a “student” in HKUST in my whole life.

My life in HKUST was beyond wonderful. I have published some papers, applied for two patents and one got successfully filed, won the best poster awards in the conference of Chinese Medicine in two succession years, and got a 1st runner up of best TAC award. I came in with empty hands, but now they are filled. The next year will mark the anniversary of another five years, and I hope that I can step onto the stage of the atrium and proclaim, “Finally, I did it!”