Rise From Failure – Discover Your True Calling (Episode 3)


Timothy Wong







“Your major doesn’t define your future and you can do whatever you set your heart on”. We might have heard of this phrase numerous times. However, this statement has been overused to an extent where it becomes nothing but a cliché.

Following “A Day for Failure at HKUST”, we are going to share five science alumni stories on how they live out this statement, especially on how they picked themselves up after overcoming their limitations, and then went on to accomplish what had been deemed impossible.

If you are someone who has always wanted to follow your dream but never gained any traction, we hope that their stories could inspire you to search for your passions!

What major did you study at HKUST?

BSc in Biochemistry

What are you doing now? 

Pupil barrister (a rookie lawyer who is being trained to specialise in court advocacy)

When is your defining moment in your career?

Whilst studying at HKUST, I partook in a variety of student activities. The one that led me to the current path of becoming an advocate was joining the Students’ Union Council. During those two years I was involved in debating and steering major policies of the Union, which required a lot of persuasion. This skillset is very different from academic studies but proves to be indispensable and rewarding in a career at the Bar. Through these activities, I discovered my ability to tactfully advocate my ideas and persuade others into buying them. Therefore, I decided to pivot to a career that is better fit for my gifts.

Have you ever had moments of tough times, failures or adversity in the journey of pursuing your passions? How did you handle that and move on?

I read law at HKU and acquired a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, followed by a Master of Laws (LLM) qualification completed at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in the UK. Legal methodologies differ a great deal from scientific approach and it took me quite a while to have a good grasp of it. I daresay the textbooks I read in my two years of JD outnumbered all the books I had read in my entire primary, secondary and tertiary education combined. It was the passion that carried me all along. I convinced myself that one day I would become a star in the courtroom seeking all the attention in the audience. The dream will finally come true in half a year’s time. Now I go to work every day in a paradise underwater with my beloved corals in the Indian Ocean.

What advice would you give to your fellow classmates for pursuing their goals and dreams?

Firstly, your degree does not define you. You define yourself. Try as many things as possible when you can afford to lose. You only live once, and it is paramount to find a career for which you have passion. Second, do not get easy on your studies. Your GPA could be more important than you imagine. A first class can open so many doors that you may want opened later on – it is particularly apt in the professional world. Third, treasure your time at HKUST! Looking back on, I still find my life here the most enjoyable in my post-secondary years.

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