Rise From Failure – Discover Your True Calling (Episode 5)

Phoebe Lam



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“Your major doesn’t define your future and you can do whatever you set your heart on”. We might have heard of this phrase numerous times. However, this statement has been overused to an extent where it becomes nothing but a cliché.

Following “A Day for Failure at HKUST”, we are going to share five science alumni stories on how they live out this statement, especially on how they picked themselves up after overcoming their limitations, and then went on to accomplish what had been deemed impossible.

If you are someone who has always wanted to follow your dream but never gained any traction, we hope that their stories could inspire you to search for your passions!

What major did you study at HKUST?

I majored in Biochemistry and Cell Biology in HKUST, and minored in Chemistry.

What are you doing now? 

I am now studying the Bachelor of Medicine and the Bachelor of Surgery Programme (MBBS) at the University of Hong Kong. I am currently in my second year of preclinical study.

When is your defining moment in your career?

All along I have been passionate in science and have aspired to incorporate my knowledge into my future career. While I did enjoy doing research, I felt more compelled to work in an environment where I could interact and communicate with more people. Since I was small, I have also developed a heart to serve the community to any lengths. Hence, I realized being a doctor would be a suitable career and thus filed in the application to medicine.

Have you ever had moments of tough times, failures or adversity in the journey of pursuing your passions? How did you handle that and move on?

I first applied to medical school when I was taking the HKDSE. At that time, I did not perform well and was one mark below the cutoff; hence I was not admitted despite having a recommendation letter from my headmaster. Although disappointed at first, I later found myself having great interest and capability in doing biochemistry in HKUST, and therefore studied hard to pave way for more opportunities when I graduate. Now I realize having a first degree is really a blessing, as I am more mentally and intellectually prepared to handle the crammed syllabus and difficult materials in HKU. There were also hard times after I have entered medical school. I particularly remember being very stressed before the summative exam, which tested everything taught throughout the whole year, and required a lot of hard memorization which I was not used to. Luckily, I had loved ones beside me who understood my worries and accompanied me through the hardship, and I also joined different activities such as Christian fellowships to balance out my life; these all helped me to face adversity and brought success ultimately.

What advice would you give to your fellow classmates for pursuing their goals and dreams?

Passion is a precious instinct. It is almost a calling – that you should pursue what is written on your heart after deep realizations. When you are passionate about something, you would go to any lengths to improve yourself and achieve it until you see the light, no matter how tiring and routine the process would be. Hence, before you let the fire die, think and plan carefully whether you can catch your dream. I believe you will amaze yourself and others around you. 🙂

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My tutorial group wishing each other luck in passing the summative exam in May, 2018.

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I went on exchange to the University of British Columbia during my studies in HKUST. This was the tutorial group with which I worked on a research project I worked on a research project.