School & Program
University of Waterloo, Urban Planning
Meadowridge Student Since
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I enjoy dancing and have been practicing hip hop and urban jazz for the last six years now. I also really enjoy playing the piano – I’ve been doing that for over ten years, since I was about four. When I was three months old, my family went back to Shanghai and that’s where I grew up. When I was 12, we moved back to Canada and I came here. Since arriving at Meadowridge, I’ve been involved in lots of volunteerism and fundraising work, including the Global Citizenship Club (GCC), TEDx, and the Global Service Leaders Competition (GSL). For TEDx and for GSL, I am proud of myself because I talked about a very private issue for me. I spoke about mental health and advocated for mental wellness. It was a proud moment of mine.
How did you first find yourself at Meadowridge?
After living in Shanghai for a while, my mom wanted me to come back to Canada to continue my high school education. The International Baccalaureate (IB) was important for my family. When I first arrived at Meadowridge, it was a very welcoming school. I was actually really intimidated, but the people here are so welcoming and I made a lot of friends and adapted pretty quickly despite the change in culture.
Tell us about your year ahead.
Urban planning is not something many people know about. When I posted my acceptance online, a lot of people were like what is that? I’ll be studying urban planning, which is basically managing urban systems and taking care of the environment in general. I’ll be staying in a dorm for my first year, then probably moving and living on my own. The program has a co-op component, so I’ll start working at the end of my second year. Until then, I might pick up a part-time job. I chose Waterloo because of the environment, and I’m excited to be in the program.
What was it about Urban Planning?
My mom is actually an urban planner, so that has helped me see how well it suits my personality and strengths. They give lots of presentations and design projects on the streets. In Grade 10, I even focused my Personal Project on urban planning. After walking around, I picked a street in Maple Ridge to redesign. Seeing that it was mostly traffic-focused, I found ways to fit in more green space and make it more pedestrian-friendly so people could walk. I made a site plan with new designs, added greenspace, benches, and bus stops. It’s not necessarily about protecting the environment – though that’s important too – but finding ways to manage urban systems so that everyone can live a better life. That’s the part of it I like.
What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
Being independent. I’ve never lived away from my parents for a long period of time. I’m excited to be an independent person in a new place. Organizing my life – when to do homework, when to take care of myself, things like that. When I go somewhere on my own, I automatically become independent since I know that my parents are not there with me and I’m the only one who can do things.
What will you miss most as you move onto the next chapter?
The people. I feel like everyone I know in Vancouver is really friendly, and I’ll miss everyone a lot. I'll miss my friends at Meadowridge and the teachers too. All my Diploma Programme (DP) teachers were really supportive of my learning and contributed to how I learn. The teachers help with more than just your learning. I remember Ms. Mohoruk came to my TEDx talk and would talk to me and check in with me after. She told me how much my speech inspired her and that I could approach her any time.
Any parting words of wisdom?
Take care of yourself. I didn’t balance my life that well. I focused too much on academics and neglected my mental health and doing other activities. Once I started focusing on balance, I started going to sleep earlier, working out, and volunteering. That helped me clear my mind and focus. It made me more energetic and motivated to study.