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From Science Student to Startup Newbie

Enzymes, metabolism, electrophoresis…these are the terms I have been dealing with for almost 7 years as a science student. With no background in business studies, and with a mind open to learn about entrepreneurship, I landed in the world of startups at Garage Society this summer for what has been a challenging but unforgettable experience. ‘Startup’ is a rather fresh concept for a typical university student, not even accounting those with a pure science background. The conventional way of thinking and learning made me stumble quite a lot during my first few weeks here because I was too constrained by the way how education system in Hong Kong nurtures me. Equation and theory applies everywhere in science industry, but in the world of startups, it’s a completely different game. There is never a guarantee that your idea will become a success, yet I see people here who enjoy it so much. It makes me question myself, which direction should my career take? I am grateful to Garage Society for letting us get in touch with some young founders and CEOs, who inspired us as we tackled this question. I was impressed by how they gave up their comfortable corporate jobs to follow their passions, channeling this motivation into a new business and new responsibilities. I once talked to a founder on how she planned to launch her business and her answer really hit home with me - “I never planned to, there is no such thing as career path; once you know you are ready for something new, you can start anytime.” Students in Hong Kong are somehow too reserved in choosing their path after graduation, everyone is assigned a complementary role by the society. It is reckoned to be more logical to strive to work in a renowned company, take home your salary and make do rather than follow a passion. It is sad to see how dreams are suppressed by the realities of society. Interning in GS during these weeks doesn’t make me believe in fairy tales, but it makes me believe there’s much more we can do than walking a designated path. I see possibilities and opportunities everywhere in the eyes of these young risk-takers. The future should be exciting. Uncertainties arise everywhere along the road yet and may throw in some fun and romance - who knows? Interning in GS has widened my point-of-view and opened my mind. I still need time to adapt to the fast pace of of the business world, but I am sure it’s opening up new doors for graduates like us. People say I am a scientist, but I would say I am more ready to be an opportunity embracer. - VY

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