This week's Alumni Spotlight features Helen Wong, one of our distinguished alumni from Class of 2022. Helen shares her reflections on her time at AISG, how being a Ram has helped shape her mind, and how she overcame the challenges she faced during her years at AISG. Helen embodies AISG’s values and will continue to inspire us in her future journey of becoming a brave and independent individual.
Now that your senior year has ended, was there any moment or event this past year that made a defining impact or lasting impression?
The most memorable one would be APAC volleyball. Last year, all APAC events were canceled because of COVID. My athletic journey at AISG was long, so I hoped for a final APAC event that would conclude my story before graduating. Fortunately, it came true, and I was selected to be a co-captain. We were really anxious at first because most of our teammates hadn’t been to APAC, and we kept telling them that “it is just different, so work hard.” As a team, we went through many ups and downs, like training without a coach and members getting injured. During the downtimes, captains shouldered the responsibility to boost morale and confidence. We must put away our negative emotions and present the inspirational side to our young teammates. It was actually a challenge for me because I often show my emotions on my face. After several months of training, I figured out that my role is not to control everyone but to set an example that people may follow. In October, we traveled to Shanghai to compete. Everyone played much better than I expected. I could see that they all truly fell in love with volleyball and were willing to devote all their strength and energy to it. I believe helping the team to achieve such a change is also the embodiment of my self-worth. I hope that I can continue to encourage more people to join volleyball in the future.
How did the IB curriculum affect your perspective towards education?
I think IB cultivates students to be well rounded and helps students prepare for college. Through the two years of IB, I realized that everyone has unlimited possibilities. At first, I was distressed that I had to do so many things at the same time. But since “giving up” is not in my dictionary, I gritted my teeth and got on with it every day. This trained my time management skills and I started to do even more things at once without feeling tired. Another important advantage of IB is that it shapes our critical thinking mind. Since we have a lot of papers to write, we must have our own perspective or understanding on world issues and be critical enough to question or propose solutions. This habit has also helped me in other fields, such as organizing community service. I became more objective and logical and was able to look at each problem more comprehensively. I believe this is what education should be like: it cultivates personality and encourages students to explore what they belong to.
In regards to the outbreak of COVID-19, what was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
I was upset about the sudden changes of plans during the outbreak at first. Many significant events used to happen, and I have put lots of time and effort in, but I had to accept the reality because of unpredictable circumstances. For example, I was recommended to join the United Nation Youth Forum in 2020. I finished my script and was totally ready, but because of COVID, it got canceled. I felt so disappointed because this opportunity was like an angel’s visit. Similar disappointments have happened several times. Although they once affected my mentality, I told myself that this time has been difficult for everyone. I should feel satisfied with still being able to have a class online, and I could even spend more time with my family. There is always a bright side, and it depends on how we see it. I grew up from this experience, and I learned to accept everything around me.
Where will you be going to college and what are you looking forward to the most?
I was admitted to WBB (World Bachelor in Business), a joint program led by USC, HKUST, and the University of Broconni. We will take classes in each place for one year, choose our fourth destination out of the three locations, and receive three degrees at the end. Through WBB, I can hone my communication skills and learn how to create a working environment that is harmonious and efficient. The program provides the opportunity to study business worldwide, thereby familiarizing me with diverse cultures. It is also a fantastic opportunity to improve my communication skills because sometimes I still hesitate to meet new people. I am very excited to become an official USC Trojan this fall because the school fits me perfectly, and I also look forward to bringing new energy there. Helen, fight on!
This year we celebrated AISG’s 40th Anniversary. What thoughts or emotions come to mind and what does this mean to you?
AISG is my second home, and I believe it will have many more than 40 years to go. I don’t want to say goodbye, but saying goodbye is a life lesson that everyone has to learn. As an alumnus, the only thing I can do is be a better version of myself, and one day, I will proudly introduce myself to everyone as a “Ram.” In this way, others will think, “AISG must be great!” I will show my Ram spirit at all my future destinations.
What advice do you have for current students to make the most of their experience at AISG?
Make sure to listen to your inner voice and understand what you want. Don’t try to dump so much stuff on yourself just because you want to have a good looking resume. Do things that show your identity. For example, even if you have 10 incredible accomplishments, only 3 or 4 of them can be shown in the personal essay. So, don’t waste time trying to satisfy others. Take care of yourself first! In fact, AISG provides lots of opportunities, but you need to fight for yourself. It is important to discover all the possibilities around you as a student and use them to show who you are. Most importantly, happiness consists of contentment. 知足常乐。
What accomplishments do you dream to achieve in the next five years and how will your education at AISG help you achieve these?
Continue to be a brave and an independent woman. Though I have already stepped out of so many comfort zones throughout my years at AISG, I know that my potential is more than that. AISG has a diverse but inclusive environment, and the atmosphere has given me a strong sense of belonging that allows me to try incredible and even crazy things. I will continue to move forward with this courage. I am ready to present myself and this generation to the world. Go, class of 2022!
Helen's extracurriculars/activities/awards/etc. during her time at AISG:
- APAC Volleyball (2019 – 2022) (2022 Captain)
- APAC Badminton (2019 – 2021)
- APAC Volleyball Most Valuable Player (2020 – 2021)
- APAC Badminton Coach’s Choice
- Student Council (2020 – 2021)
- Highest Honor Roll (2019 – 2022)
- National Honor Society (2020 – 2022)
- National Chinese Honor Society (2020 – 2022)
- UPenn Wharton Leadership in the Business World (2021)
- US Choir Ensemble (2018 – 2022)
- Model United Nation (2018 – 2022)
- Rams Reception (Coordinator) (2020 – 2022)
- PULSE (PR) (2018 – 2020)
- TEDx Youth Speaker (2022)
- China Think Big (2020 – 2021) (National Finalist)
- University of Columbia Summer School (2019) (received professor’s recommendation)
- Guangdong Jinqiu Charity Foundaton (Co-operator) (2010 – 2022)
- Purple Math Contest (2018) (AISG 3rd place; World Top 20%)
- SDRC Volleyball (2017 – 2018)
- SDRC Touch Rugby (2017 – 2018)
- SDRC Basketball (2016 – 2018)
- LS Choir Ensemble (2016 – 2018)
Helen, fight on! Same to all graduates from the Class of 2022, who all proved resilience beyond any doubt. Go Rams!