‘Studying at the OUHK has taught me the importance of identifying clear goals and finding ways to realize them. Go all out in studying as well as extra-curricular activities, as what is learnt will always belong to oneself.’
When William To Wai-lap graduated from the OUHK in 2008, the economy was hard hit by the global financial crisis. He worked briefly as a bank teller, and afterwards took up a training post in a social service organization. Now, he has settled down as a financial planner, harvesting good profits after five years of effort. At the same time, he runs a promising wedding and event planning business with his wife, where he doubles as a master of ceremonies.
William went to study in the United States following the HKCEE, but due to financial constraints, he was forced to return to Hong Kong upon completion of the associate degree. His plan to continue his university education back home, unfortunately, was thwarted by the fact that he never sat for the HKALE. Having little choice, he had to set his dream aside and enter the job market, until he learnt of the OUHK’s launch of the full-time Social Sciences degree. It being a new programme, first-year admission was the only option, yet William was more than pleased to be back to school and gladly enrolled. He regarded this relatively late start as compared with his secondary school friends optimistically, ‘I felt determined to gain back the lost time and was keen to learn as much as possible.’ In the small campus of the University, he enjoyed close interactions with his classmates, who would stay behind in the library to discuss assignments. He was also grateful to his teachers, who were very approachable and welcoming to students’ questions. Eventually his efforts paid off: he graduated with first-class honours on scholarships four years straight.
Apart from studying, William turned a wonderful page of his life by engaging in extra-curricular activities. When full-time programmes were yet a novelty to the University, he co-founded the first session of the Student Society of Social Sciences, gleaning a valuable lesson through organizing its first orientation camp with zero resources and limited experience. Later on, he proposed himself as a master of ceremonies in University events, and has since become the most featured host in major events such as anniversary banquets, campus ground breaking and campus opening. The numerous experiences of holding the reins before celebrities and high officials, including the Chief Executive, have given him a strong command of the stage. After his graduation, this gradually developed into a second career. His presence was frequently sought in charity events, large-scale competitions and corporate annual dinners, among them the ‘Elderly Century Wedding’ organized by Volunteer Space which he hosted six times. From 2010, at the start-up of his wedding business, he has been the master of ceremonies of over a hundred wedding banquets. By now he is in total control of his stage, keeping his wits and composure as he drives the rhythm of and set the tone for each event.
And William lost no time to pursue further studies. In 2010, he caught up with his secondary school friends by obtaining a master’s degree in the same year as them. Studying at the OUHK has taught him the importance of identifying clear goals and finding ways to realize them. He encourages his juniors to go all out in studying as well as extra-curricular activities, as what is learnt will always belong to oneself.