The convocation ceremonies for this year have been postponed in light of the pandemic, but don’t let that dampen your spirits to celebrate this important milestone! In this series, Science@NTU gets to know the 2020 CoS valedictorians. They give a quick overview of their time in CoS, and also offer a few words of advice on staying positive during these uncertain times. Last but not least, we have Malcolm Ho from the School of Biological Sciences.
‘Do your best.’ A simple, comforting and empowering three-word phrase that reminds you on the entirety of what you are able to do in the face of unfamiliar challenges and uncertain times, and motivates you to persevere on with your most tenacious might.
How did you end up studying Biology?
Back in secondary school, I found biology the most ‘living’ amongst the three sciences. It is the learning of how life works; making sense of the chemical reactions and physical laws in the context of life. As I found that I had an aptitude for it, I continued to study biology in JC and university.
What did you enjoy most during your four years in NTU SBS?
I really enjoyed studying in NTU SBS. Having to learn and push limits with my friends made my education in SBS a very memorable one. We acknowledged our own weaknesses and complemented each other with our strengths.
SBS also offers a wide range of modules in biological sub-disciplines catering to the diverse interests of students. I seized the opportunity to take a couple of modules relating to neuroscience, a field that I am very interested in. I also went to Korea University for summer exchange and soaked in the international campus setting, and the local culture (and food!). I was also a teaching assistant for a few undergraduate courses in SBS, through which I experienced the joy of bidirectional learning grounded on empathy and curiosity.
Besides academics, my life in SBS was enriched with many fun activities organised by the Biological Sciences student club. I always looked forward to the events the club organised. My favourite event was the Freshmen Orientation Programme, of which I am a committee member of for three years. It was where I met most of my friends in SBS. I am also part of the BS club publicity and publications team, where I had many opportunities to produce videos, another one of my hobbies.
What’s your next step after graduation?
I will be embarking on my PhD in neuroscience soon.
Any words of advice to students who intend to study Science?
If you genuinely think an idea is good, never let others talk you out of it. Much scientific knowledge which is ‘common sense’ today was thought to be absurd and criticised at the period of discovery.
What advice do you have for your peers who are graduating this year, during these uncertain times?
Passion may wither and things might seem dark, but unyielding character will always push and navigate you through difficult times. Never give up! If you stumble, it is okay to take some time to process it, but pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and rise up to the challenge again. For the only the direction once you are at rock bottom, is up. And if all has been well even in these times, keep in mind that while talent and hard work may get you to your goals, it takes character to maintain it.