Student Stories

Living out of the box

Nicole Wong realised the measure of success in university is more than just grades - it’s what you get out of it. And how braving herself to pursue something out of her comfort zone has become another rewarding journey she never set herself out for.

Nicole Wong
Studied in University of Reading BSc Accounting and Finance

Often we’re being brought up to learn that when we’re in University – that’s it, that’s that final leg of our student life before getting into the working world. So it ought to be like any final decision, making sure we make a good decision or else we’re screwed.

Is University the final destination to a successful path?

But then again, we hear these stories about people who end up working in  completely different industries than what they initially set out for in their university days. Doctors leaving their medical practice for tech startups, accountants dropping off from Big 4 companies to build their career through Multi-Level Marketing, practicing lawyers leaving the law industry to start out as a financial advisor, and more. Obviously, these stories show us that the path we pursue in our tertiary studies do not necessarily point us to only one path, as the future may hold something different for each person. Unfortunately, that’s what we are brought up to know – but I guess now with the switch in our generation’s mindset, the sky is the limit.

How it all began

A little background about myself – I grew up struggling to find my interest. There were times I thought I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, personal accelerator coach, or a psychologist; but in the end, I thought Finance was my thing because I did not struggle with Principles of Accounts back in my SPM years. So I decided to take on studying Accounting and Finance at the University of Reading, and man, I struggled way more than I expected. BUT somehow along the way I started growing interest into something I never thought I would – real estate.

I was very fortunate that my parents had a thorough plan to save and afford my education overseas, prior to sending me to the UK. My parents were wise enough to get a house not only for me to stay (and of course conveniently make it as their own holiday home), but under my management to rent out the remaining rooms to my fellow university mates. That’s when I was thrown into a very unfamiliar situation to work my way around to furnishing the individual rooms, researching on current room market value, tenants sourcing, sorting out council tax payments, etc. So over the period of my university life, I had an additional role as a landlord.

Did it turn out better than I thought?

Like everyone else, your university life is probably one of the best times ever! You learn, you grow, and evidently seeing yourself doing life. That was how I felt, it’s the unexpected situation that somehow set me out to be venturing into a different path. So here I am now, back in Malaysia, working with a UK based real estate company, Waller Property Consultant, as a property education advisor to help Malaysians invest in UK properties. And even when you are working with a company, somehow, you start to put yourself out of the box – I grew interest in marketing and designing, and currently, take on the role as the Marketing guru for the company. It’s basically like a pandora box, that unveils so many things I don’t know about myself. I’m as excited to learn about what’s next for me!

So, my biggest takeaway to all who are reading this – always think out of the box! It’s good to know what you want to study in university, but never restrict yourself to unfamiliarity. Go learn about different things, do some networking and build relationships. And most importantly, be open to changes and not setting yourself a label. Success don’t come just because you’re doing well in an exceptional course, but how you grow as a person and doing what you love. So if you’re in the category of a person who don’t know what you want to study, don’t fret – you’ll figure it out, so give yourself the time to grow and learn. Be open to learning, because sometimes there are surprises. Before I end this, let me leave this quote by Dr Ezam with you – “Doubts can kill dreams, more than failure ever will.”

University of Reading
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