“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. [Matthew 7:7]
My room at the Academic Building is often frequented by students. The door is always open when I am inside (except during individual consultation). Sometimes students come in group. They would sit on the floor, with a drink on hand and some nibbits. And they’d stay there, exchange ideas, share life, for hours till late at night.
At university you will not have a group of classmates that you meet daily and taking the same lessons. Everyone will have a different timetable and taking different courses. You won’t have a Form Teacher (班主任) who you meet daily and may go when you need advice. In other words, you are more on your own.
And here’s where I, together with the peer mentor, student advising officer come in.
As Faculty Advisor of the Science School, I am counselor-on-demand so to speak. Students may check my timetable for free timeslot for a 30-mins to one-hour session with me for academic advising, and/or personal consultation. The idea is to help new students to ease into the academic and social landscape of HKUST, smooth the transition from high school to university.
I find it interesting that most new students are not accustomed to academic advising and one-on-one consultation with professor. It’s funny that some even found it a bit intimidating. They wondered before meeting me if they had done something wrong. They have mixed up ‘counseling teacher’(輔導老師) with ‘discipline teacher’ (訓導老師). Quite a number live by the rule of laying low and would avoid meeting professors (so they would not give a bad impression).
So here comes the first major difference between high school and university. Laying low doesn’t work here. You will have more questions if you do not get answers to the ones you have now. Your problems will accumulate and it will not do you any good.
Eagerly anticipating entering a brand new phase of your young adult life? Something’s troubling you? You are welcome to come to my office and have a little chat. In September, that is. My door is open.
Prof Yeung Lam Lung
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Resident Master (UG Hall VI), HKUST