Graduate school!

It has been a while since I’ve posted an update; so I decided today that it was time to let you know what I’ve been up to.

I would first like to announce that I accepted my offer of admission to Stanford to complete my PhD in Electrical Engineering. The process of applying to graduate school is daunting; needing to balance school work to maintain the grades, performing research and obtaining publications as well as good reference letters, all while completing the application, essays, and studying for the GRE. It was a stressful period for me; I cut my ties with many organisations I used to support and be part of, I quit the amazing start-up I had joined a few months prior, and I stopped my involvement with many extra-curricular activities. This happened gradually between October and January, after sending off waves after waves of applications in November and December. During that time, I felt like I might have been burnt out, but thanks to my supportive friends I pushed forward everyday. Looking back on those dark times, I wonder if I would have been diagnosed with depression.

Eventually good news arrived, and broke the mental chains that had me enslaved. I remember the day clearly. It was a cold, snowy day in the middle of February when I heard back from Stanford. It was late in the evening, and I had just finished a long day, and I was standing under the bus shelter waiting to go home. I heard my phone go off-I had a new message. I opened it, and to my surprise, the subject read: Stanford Electrical Engineering – Michael Leung. My heart began to pound, and I quickly opened the message:

The Graduate Admissions Committee has reviewed your application to the Electrical Engineering department at Stanford University. Please see the attached document for their admissions decision regarding your application.

At that point the bus had arrived, so I hoped on the bus, and sat down. I wasn’t sure what to expect: Was it the dreadful rejection letter I feared? Was I admitted to PhD or Masters program? Was I admitted with a fellowship or without funding? At that point I decided that whatever the outcome; it didn’t matter. I had done my best, wouldn’t have done anything differently, and was proud of it. To my great surprise it was an admission to the PhD program. I sent a quick text to my best friends to let them know of the news, and got off the bus at the next stop so I could call my parents. I knew I had a cold long walk ahead, but it seemed insignificant at the time. As soon as I got off the bus, I called my parents to tell them the news. At first, they did not believe me; after all, I had only briefly mentioned the idea of going to the States; without mentioning specific universities in mind. After that, I was questioned about how I was able to get into the PhD program without having completed my masters. Anyhow, they where proud and happy that I got in where I hoped for; and told me to keep working hard at school. I had an urge to cry; let my emotions run free. After hanging up, I hurried home and quickly wrote a thank you letter to my referees for their support and to let them know of the outcome of my admission. I was relieved. All this pressure that I hag built up in the past months was finally let free, and my worries disappeared. I now knew where I was headed in the fall.

A few weeks later, I had the chance to visit Stanford during the Admit Days, and that further confirmed that it was the right school for me.

Leave a Reply