Letters from the dorm: how learning to be confident at university helped me go from nervous freshman to mentoring freshmen

Letters from the dorm: how learning to be confident at university helped me go from nervous freshman to mentoring freshmen

My undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto (UT) will be over in about two months and I cannot help but look back over all the wonderful memories I have made here. Canada is a wonderful country, with its rich history and diverse culture, and UT indeed provides many amazing opportunities for students. Even though I have only spent four years here compared to 16 years in Hong Kong, this city will always have a special place in my heart.

One of my most cherished memories is definitely the Bank of Canada’s Governor’s Challenge, which I got involved in during my third year at university. This national competition gave me the chance to work closely with several professors and students; it was completely different from normal coursework. It gave me the opportunity to apply those economic theories I learned in class to real-life situations.

This year I was also selected to represent the university in the national competition, which was held in the head office of the Central Bank of Canada in the capital Ottawa. We came second.

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The experience really broadened my perspective as I was able to learn from students from other universities and see how they approach the same question. The three-day trip was also my first in a very long time, which made it more meaningful to me.

I am currently mentoring a group of first-year students who wish to study financial economics or actuarial science; it serves as a wonderful conclusion to my undergraduate journey. Not only do I enjoy being able to support them, it also allows me the opportunity to look back at my four-year journey here.

In my first year, I was extremely shy and did not really reach out to people. The fact that the classes were huge, and my friends might be in different programmes to me, did not help. As I share tips with the freshmen, I cannot help but be happy about my progress.

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The transition from being too shy, to making friends, to representing the school for a national competition is a huge step and I sincerely hope these freshmen can also use the resources at UT to flourish.

Someone asked me recently whether I would do my undergraduate studies at UT again, if given the chance. The answer to that question is a definite “yes”. I would do it all over again (although I must admit that some of the winter days here are brutally cold).

Even though I will not be staying in Toronto after graduation, I can promise you that I will be back in the future.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
University helped boost my confidence


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