It is important to have dreams no matter who you are. Don’t worry about how people see you. Firmly believe that “YOU CAN” and the sky is the only limit.
There is a chance that you are a late starter (with no demonstrable accomplishments yet). It could not be too late for a late teen or young adult to start having a dream and working towards it. It does not matter if it seems far from reach at the moment. Aim high and for sure you won’t land too low.
Let me tell you the story of Prof Shain-Dow Kung (孔憲鐸教授), a person that I have worked directly for. He was a vice-president at HKUST. He grew up in Shandong during war time and had no more than one full year of schooling in total. He was a factory worker in HK at his teenage. By self-studying with a torch under the blanket in the factory dormitory, he managed to get into a degree program … This is not the beginning of a straight forward academic career … When it came to his PhD research, his finding was too stunning a breakthrough to be accepted … Anyway, he started his career at the age of 40. He became a renowned plant biologist and a well-respected educator.
So, regardless of who you are and where you now stand, and regardless of the circumstances, always be hopeful, trust yourself and work hard. (To know more about Prof Kung’s story, simply do a web search by typing 孔憲鐸 and 背水一戰.)
Here’s another true story that I like. It is about an American woman. Her teachers told her that she is just not college material and she should think about becoming a secretary. She went to college anyway. Probably, she was not smart enough to know the difference between a secretary and a Secretary. She really became America’s 25th Secretary of Labor. She is Hilda Solis.
For whatever reasons, do not kill your dreams. Visualize yourself running for them. Fight hard for them.
Associate Director, Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions Office, HKUST