Joyce Wu, Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong

I’m Joyce Wu, and I graduated from VSA in 2015. I’m in my third undergraduate year now, out of six in total. The picture below shows me with my best friend in medical school and the family doctor we recently shadowed.

To me, there are two big differences between my life at VSA and my life at CUHK. Firstly, everything felt so small and contained in VSA: every classmate and every teacher I encountered felt likea big deal to me. At CUHK, there are 20 thousand students in total, 230 medical students in each year and about a dozen lecturers (teachers) for each major-required subject, so most individual people seem no longer as important. Secondly, medical school is much harder than the IB program, but most of your IB skills are quite useful for medical school and for university in general. The exception is that rote memorization skills are much more important in the first three years of medical school than in the IB.

CUHK is an amazing university to study in, with a comfortable environment and lots of nice, supportive people. It also has lots of lazy and sloppy people who don’t put in work during group projects, but those people exist everywhere. I was lucky enough to get 4 years of guaranteed on-campus residence, which has a big positive impact on my university life.

I still hang out with some of my VSA classmates, juniors and seniors. Usually I arrange to see each of these friends once or twice a year. Many of them are still great people, and I’m glad I got to share so many interesting memories with them.

To those of you who want to study medicine (and I know that there are many of you in the class of 2019): medical school is great, but it isn’t for everyone. You need to be either super smart, super passionate about medicine, or both to survive even the first few years, not to mention all the challenges faced by doctors. I’m pretty passionate about medicine myself, and I’ve even been playing and streaming surgery simulation games in my free time.

To those of you who are frustrated with the IB or struggling in various ways: surviving the IB program is already a great achievement! Try to focus on the good things in life, like tasty food or enjoyable friendships, and try to get enough sleep despite all the challenges. I know what it’s like to struggle academically nowadays, but I’ve also realized that your grades aren’t everything.

To every student in VSA: good luck, and I hope you guys can treasure the experiences you have and the people you meet here!