Creating your own major, Reconciling your interests with study


Connie CHOW
BSc in Individualized Interdisciplinary Major - Built Environment Design, Year 2 student

No sooner than I start my first year of study at HKUST, I stumbled upon the Individualized Interdisciplinary Major program. To my amazement, the school allows students to create their own major. How can I ask for more!

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Where my passion lies – Urban Planning
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Thinking of my connection with HKUST, it ties early back in high school days. At that time, our school team won an award in the bridge-building contest for secondary school students hosted by the HKUST Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Grateful for that experience, I had an embellishing reason that inspired me to join the HKUST School of Engineering, with my enthusiasm in urban planning. That is when I started to shape my future with Sustainability and Environmental Engineering related subjects.

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Title
Create my own major!
Description

No sooner than I start my first year of study at HKUST, I stumbled upon the Individualized Interdisciplinary Major (IIM) program. To my amazement, the school allows students to create their own major. How can I ask for more! I am totally overjoyed by this because it is indeed uneasy to find a major program on urban planning in Hong Kong. Without so much further thought, I spent a semester discussing my major direction with professors, researching on related curriculum, and preparing proposals. Finally, I successfully declared an IIM major in Built Environment Design — the only such major in Hong Kong.

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Beyond learning
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Benefitting from interdisciplinary electives is one great privilege of being an IIM student. Another privilege beyond my expectation is the diversified connection with students from different majors, which broadened my circle of friends. To take the chance to make new friends and explore more around the world, going on an exchange is my top priority now. I can’t wait to visit Denmark, where I yearn to discover new insights from her leadership in the global sustainability arena. In addition, participating in Drama Society was one great highlight in my first year of study. We went through long hours of screenwriting, rehearsals, and promotional activities. Though the process was hard, the moment we saw the performance went successfully was more than satisfying.

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Imagining our future smart city
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We are now witnessing the world spinning at a pace we have never imagined. I am seeing myself to make good use of my sense in urban sustainability. Our starting point can be as wide as the city transportation system, adopting big data to analye foot and vehicular traffic and any potential systemic issues, so as to improve transportation efficiency to mitigate air pollution. Likewise, smart home is also a trend. Developing AI capabilities to analye users’ air conditioning habits and energy consumption, and automatically adjusting the indoor temperature with machine learning would be good to start with. I always remind myself: think creatively, in tune with the current trend, and apply the knowledge and skills that I have learned to solving day-to-day urban problems for new towns and old cities. Let us imagine and build our future smart city together!

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