Family Loss and Mental Health

Me and my dad
It was an ordinary Saturday morning.
I switched on my phone to check the overnight messages and there was one particular message which caused me to breakdown – my dad had passed away.
It had happened very suddenly and I was shocked. Thankfully, I was able to book a flight immediately to leave the UK, which brought me home to my family in Hong Kong the next day.
A similar thing had happened before. Last year my father was hospitalised and I flew back home to prepare for the worst. After two weeks of care he pulled through and survived. But this time, he was just gone.

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Do you drink?

The first time I was invited to a pub in the UK, I thought I HAD TO drink alcohol!
I don’t really like alcoholic drinks so I rejected the invitation by saying, ‘I don’t drink!’ My friend then explained to me that it wasn’t necessary for me to order an alcoholic drink in a pub.
I was quite surprised to find out that I could actually order a cup of tea in a pub instead!

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Money Management

When my laptop was stolen during my overseas study I was all of a sudden faced with an unexpected expense of getting a replacement. 
The incurred cost was high, but fortunately I had my savings for such an emergency. If I had not been managing my money well and keeping some savings it would have been very difficult! 
Here are a few money tips that might help other international students…


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Proper Rest and Doing 'All-nighters'

Have you ever done an ‘all-nighter’? That's when you work all night, right before a deadline, ensuring an essay or dissertation is complete.
My latest ‘all-nighter’ occurred during my postgraduate studies. I was staying up all night for a half-completed essay. After 12 hours of battle I finally finished, but the aftermath was a nightmare. For the next two days, I felt really exhausted no matter how many hours I slept. I could not function well. Worst of all, the quality of the essay was not even good! Since then, I try my very best to avoid doing that.
I recently met some Masters students who are working on their dissertations. They told me they start their days early and end late at night, and do this seven days a week! However, they also said that they weren’t writing efficiently. In my opinion, the problem may be a lack of proper rest.

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Presenting my Academic Paper

I recently went to New York to present a paper in my very first academic conference!
My paper was about ethnic and civic nationalism in Hong Kong; it was part of my data analysis for my PhD project. My presentation took about 20 minutes and afterwards there were comments and an open Q&A session.
The conference was very well organised and the quality of the papers was excellent. It was enjoyable and fascinating; however… there were frustrations too. 

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