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’ve got out of it. And how braving to pursue something out of her comfort zone has become another rewarding journey she never thought who has set herself out to be.

Nicole Wong
Studied in University of Reading BSc Accounting and Finance

Is University the final destination to a successful path?

Often we’re being brought up to learn that when we’re in University – that’s it, that’s that final leg of our study life before getting into the working world. So it ought to be like any final decision, it has to be what we set ourselves to be. Making sure it has to be that ONE good decision we’ve ever done or else we’re screwed.

But then again, we hear these stories about people ended up working in a completely different industry than what they initially majored in back in their university days. Doctors leaving their practice in medicine to startup in tech, Accountants dropping off working in Big 4 to build their career through MLM, Lawyers in practice decided to leave the law industry to start out as a financial advisor etc.. which left most of us flabbergasted to think that regardless of what profession you set out to be from majoring in certain subjects will be the ONLY path you’ll ever be. Because that’s what we are brought up to know – but I guess now with the switch in our generation mindset, the sky’s the limit.

How it really 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, psychologist etc.. but I thought finance was my thing cause I wasn’t the one struggling with Principle 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 thought I did. BUT somehow along the way I started growing interest into something I’ve never thought I would – Real Estate.

I was very fortunate that my parents have already come out with thorough planning 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 turned 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 consultant to help Malaysians invest in UK properties. And even working with a company, somehow you start putting yourself to grow 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, go to network 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 unexceptional major, but how you grow as a person and passionate about doing something you love. So if you’re in the other category who doesn’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 with you – “Doubts can kill dreams, more than failure ever will”, by Dr Ezam.

University of Reading
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