After graduating from the University of Washington, I embarked on a sports career as a professional tennis player representing Hong Kong. I reached No. 1 in Hong Kong and No. 340 in the world during my tennis career. The end of 2012 was a low point in my life because of a relapsed back injury which put me on and off for a few years, and I was worrying how long this could last.
A feeling of hopelessness and loss while sitting in a hotel room after a tennis match at the All-China Games gave rise to a sudden idea. An idea of returning to school and being admitted to a dream university. With little hope, I applied to pursue my childhood passion, a Master of Philosophy programme in the Department of Archaeology. Since I was at the deadline for applying, I did not have much choice of choosing the college.
Finally, after days of waiting, I received an email regarding my admission to St Edmunds College. Straight away, I packed my bags thrilled and excited about going to England without much thought of where life would lead me one day. Unexpectedly, it turned out to be the best decision ever.
Not sure if it was luck, but I stayed at the most beautiful part, the only white building of the college. The first impression that caught my attention was the friendliness of unfamiliar faces I saw at the Matriculation Ceremony and the coziness I felt inside the White Cottage.
St Edmund’s College is a place where one meets the very best from varied disciplines, from around the globe, with specialised knowledge and also talents in sports, which may be one reason why I was admitted to this esteemed college.
Looking back, I enjoyed hanging out at The Common Room playing pool and table tennis while interacting with diverse personalities and attending the famous long table dinners. A venue where the exchange of intellectual conversations took place until late in the night with scientists, theologians, mathematicians, astrologists etc. It was a learning experience to watch them argue on the historical relationship between mathematics and theology. According to the theologian, practically every major theme of mathematics, its concepts, methodology, and philosophy is linked to theological concepts, and for the mathematician, it was vice versa. The level of intelligence and curiosity that these intellects bring to the table were often intriguing. During these conversations, I was promised that one day I would be taken to meet Stephen Hawking. I had been a fan of his theories since the day my father introduced me to his book, A Brief History of Time. And as promised, I finally met the great Stephen Hawking in person and had the opportunity to exchange a few dialogues with him and his assistant.
I also noticed that there were many men in this college, but I have never felt this level of inclusion and acceptance before in any foreign countries. I’m particularly grateful to have made friends with a small group of women at Eddies, where we would rely on each other for mental support during stressful thesis writing days and have fun doing things together.
A special memory would be the Full Blue honour I received by being a part of the Cambridge University Tennis Team. I led the team as the No. 1 singles, and in our unforgettable win against our rival team Oxford University. I also had the honour to play at the Seabright and Prentice Cup, a biannual event where Cambridge and Oxford would team up to play against Harvard and Yale University at Wimbledon courts. It was a nostalgic experience to be back playing at Wimbledon, where I first played in the junior Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament back in 2006.
To sum up, arriving at St Edmund’s College, was a little intimidating initially, but I gradually learned to adapt along the way. The institution shaped my life, and brought back my confidence and meaning to my existence. It helped me understand the power of diversity and women empowerment. The College has enriched my overall experience, providing an outlet from my studies, stronger friendships, support networks, and ample opportunities for self- development.
Currently working in the finance industry and a social media sports influence in Hong Kong today, I continue to take up roles in women empowerment forums, speak and campaign to bring awareness to gender equality and women leadership. I look forward to step up in my role in giving voice to empowering women and especially economic empowerment for women in the years to come.