Stereotypes of self-centeredness and lack of motivation and willpower often come to mind when we think of Generation Z. Many of these generalisations can even be found in the lyrics of some Chinese pop songs today.
But is this all Generation Z is about? Here we bring you the story of Kelvin Hui, a Link University Scholarship recipient for two years in a row. This may just challenge those assumptions.
Taking one for the family
Kelvin, who currently attends The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s (PolyU’s) Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, has always been the pride of the family. A model student in primary and secondary school, his childhood dream was to become a lawyer. Yet his life took a different turn because of one person – his father.“In order to provide for the family, my father chose to work in the logistics industry, where he regularly had to lift heavy things,” Kelvin said. Seeing how these physical labours took their toll on his father’s body, Kelvin wanted to repay him for what he had done for the family – by going into physiotherapy.
Although Kelvin has no clinical experience yet, this hasn’t deterred him from using the skills and knowledge he has learned from classes to help his father, mostly with stretching exercises and massages. And so far, they have both been pleased and encouraged by the results. The second-year student says he is looking forward to helping more patients suffering from physical pain in the future.
A difficult dilemma – and a mature decision
As the only university student in the family, Kelvin has at times been caught in a dilemma – should he follow his own dreams or cater more to his parents’ wishes? Two years ago, he received an offer from PolyU to study radiography on a full scholarship. On the other hand, he was also accepted by the physiotherapy department, though he would have to pay for everything out of his own pocket. “After discussing with my parents, they said they trusted and would respect my decision,” Kelvin said. “Since this was my dream, and there is also a practical need in our family, I ended up choosing physiotherapy.”
What he didn’t expect was that there was another dilemma waiting for him. After finishing year one, he realised that he had an opportunity to apply for the School of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong – an opportunity not to be missed in the eyes of others. Yet after taking into consideration the time it would take to complete the studies – three years for physiotherapy compared with seven years for medicine – he decided to stick with the former. “My hope is to help alleviate my family’s financial pressure and to give my parents a better quality of life,” Kelvin said.
Kelvin spoke with confidence and not a hint of regret for his decisions. Currently, he works as his professor’s research assistant at a community centre for seniors, collecting and analysing data and giving advice on treatment options. Even though it will only last two months, Kelvin believes the experience will greatly benefit him in the future.
Using the scholarship and volunteering
So what has he done with the scholarship funds, which he has received two years in a row? It turns out that Kelvin has spent most of it on electronic equipment for data analysis required in his study. He also bought other equipment such as balance pads and exercise mats – all necessary for his training as a physiotherapist.
Other than financial rewards, the Link University Scholarship has also helped Kelvin broaden his horizons. Through communicating with recipients from other disciplines, he learned how to look at issues from multiple angles.“Even though we have different plans, there are also many things we have in common, such as the desire to give back to society,” said Kelvin. “Last summer, we volunteered for Food Angel activities to help distribute food to the elderly and the needy. It was very meaningful.”
As the 2023/24 Link University Scholarship opens for application, Kelvin wants to take the opportunity to encourage more young people to join the family. “The application process itself is a valuable life experience. During the interviews, you need to keep your composure. And the best way to leave a deep impression with the judges is if you can express views that are unique while discussing an issue.”