On our most recent Student Influencers podcast Episode, we had the opportunity to chat with Joanne Lau about culture, time management and friendship in university. Joanne is a young woman who currently lives in Buffalo, New York. Joanne grew up in Canada but moved along with her family to New York when she was young. Joanne is upfront about the challenges she experienced in relation to time management when she first went out on her own as a university student.
Making Connections: Joanne Lau Speaks on Culture, Time Management, and Friendship in University
Finding and connecting with her cultural roots through the Hong Kong Student Association at her school has been life-changing for Joanne. When she’s not making curried fish balls for an on-campus potluck, Joanne can be found connecting with a diverse array of students from across the world or studying for accounting finals.
Joanne in studio space
Joanne currently attends the University at Buffalo, an eco-friendly campus with a bustling student community. As an accounting major, Joanne is following in her father’s footsteps. She uses the lessons she learned about attention to detail and being meticulous from her mother and grandmother who were her primary caregivers as a child. The weather may be cold in Buffalo during the winter months, but Joanne’s love of culture and connection through diversity warmed our hearts.
Culture and Identity
For Joanne, attending university has provided a chance to connect with her Chinese cultural roots while also pursuing a social life. As a person who did not have an extensive extra-curricular agenda in highschool, Joanne has opened herself up to the opportunity to explore activities outside of academics. Joining university clubs has allowed Joanne to foster a sense of pride in her culture. She’s on the executive for the Hong Kong Student Association which means she is responsible for planning the clubs events and managing club commitments.
Joanne in studio space
Joanne is not just involved in the Hong Kong Student Association, she is also affiliated with the other Asian clubs on campus. She has developed friendships with people from Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan through her involvement with school clubs and she’s grateful to have the chance to meet people from all over the world. Joanne’s love of her culture is apparent. Her parents are both from Hong Kong and she says that she identifies most with her Hong Kong heritage. She takes pride in sharing her culture with others.
Getting involved in school clubs can teach students people skills while also allowing them to take on executive roles. Skills like this are easily transferable into the working world. We have written a full blog post on how to develop people skills while in university.
Foster Culture and Connections Despite Differences
One of Joanne’s biggest learnings when it comes to her club involvement is that it is possible to create relationships despite a language or cultural barrier. The beauty of on-campus clubs is that students have the chance to get to know about other cultures while also fostering their own university culture. Involvement in cultural clubs creates community while also neutralizing cultural barriers for students who may be a university for the first time or who have travelled from another part of the world. In a global society, being exposed to other cultures is invaluable. It increases tolerance, understanding and empathy while also helping students to learn about their own culture.
Joanne in studio space
Food is another way Joanne connects with other students. At club meetings and events there is no shortage of food. She told me about a dish she regularly prepares called “Curried Fish Balls” which can only be described as scrumptious. Joanne has become famous for her fried fish balls which she serves with three types of curry sauces. I have to admit I was getting hungry as I listened to Joanne describe this dish – I only wish I lived closer!
Time Management as a First-Year Student
Time management is a recurring theme on the podcast. Each student we interview has their own take on time and how to manage it. Joanne was transparent when we spoke about time management. She admits that she struggled with managing her time which resulted in missing classes, sleeping in and avoiding valuable study time.
She said that one of her biggest mistakes was failing to recognize that she is a night owl at heart. With the newfound freedom of university, Joanne would stay up late watching Netflix or YouTube, making it difficult for her to get up for a 9 am class. Eventually, she recognized that not attending classes meant getting lower grades.
Scheduling was also an issue for Joanne, even though she joined the student association early into her degree, she could not attend the club events because she had scheduled her classes for the evening. A lack of awareness around school schedule mixed with a misunderstanding of her personal workflow requirements meant that Joanne found herself struggling in the first year of university.
Eventually, Joanne found her groove. In order to account for her late nights, Joanne planned her class schedule accordingly. Instead of committing to morning classes, she now attends classes in the afternoon, allowing her to stay up later and also attend club events. Joanne recognizes that she has a habit of prioritizing club events over study-time, but she works hard to strike a balance. If you find yourself off balance when it comes to university commitments, check out our services.
Joanne’s experience with time management is a helpful learning opportunity for other students. Time management is a skill which must be developed over time. It is important to recognize your personal strengths and weaknesses and schedule your time accordingly. As many of our student influencers recognize, time management is a practice which spills over into the working world. University or college is an opportunity to develop time management skills while also figuring out what works best for you.
University Friendships and Long-Term Relationships
Joanne in studio space
We always ask our interviewees about their favourite insights from university or college. Some students regale us with stories of travelling to faraway places, others have riveting tales or race car driving or creating social media content for large scale brands. Joanne’s favourite experience was surprising but it is possibly one of the most telling stories we have heard.
Joanne told us about her most recent accounting class. People often take the relationships they develop in university for granted. Sometimes we do not recognize what we have until it is gone. Joanne is mindful and grateful for the friendships she has forged both in the classroom and elsewhere. Joanne’s most recent accounting class was challenging. The professor was not passionate about the material which made it difficult to learn. However, within this struggle, Joanne connected with a former classmate whom she knew from middle school. What a coincidence that they should find each other again in an accounting class in Buffalo New York! They hit it off right away and once they got to talking Joanne found out that her friend was also the President of the Malaysian university club. This solidified their bond. Amidst the struggle of a challenging accounting class, Joanne and her friend made it count and used the adversity to build on their friendship by studying together, attending on-campus events and venting to each other about in-class or on-campus drama.
Joanne explained that their friendship came to the rescue when she was struggling with the first semester. Her friend understood the accounting material and was able to teach her, resulting in an A as her final grade. When the second semester came around, she was able to return the favour when her friend was struggling. The roles had reversed. Joanne’s appreciation for the here and now and her gratitude for the deep friendships she is forging in university have allowed her to excel both in her courses as well as in her social community.
Get Involved in University Culture
Joanne in studio space
Joanne encourages every new student to become involved in campus culture. Whether it is connecting with a cultural club, attending on-campus events or working at the bookstore, university provides a unique opportunity to learn more about who you are and how to give back to the community. Each experience provides an opportunity to learn about yourself and about the world around you.
Joanne lives in the moment and takes stock of what is in front of her, a rare quality in this digital age. Joanne had much wisdom to impart, whether she recognized it or not. Here are a few pieces of advice:
● Step outside your comfort zone.
● Learn more about your culture and heritage.
● Cook delicious food. Food fosters community.
● Connect with friends old and new. Make time to fuel friendships and relationships.
● Find a time management strategy that works for your life AND your personality.
● Don’t stay up too late watching Netflix.
● Be open to new cultures and practice appreciation for the present moment.
● Be grateful.
This article only captures a few of the insightful tidbits Joanne had to share with us. For more on Joanne’s perspective on life and her curried fish ball recipe check out our Student Influencers podcast.
We hope you continue to join us on this journey of talking to successful student influencers who tell their stories of struggle and triumph! To follow along, please visit our Anchor site and stay tuned for future episodes.
FULL TRANSCRIPT FROM OUR PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH JOANNE LAU
Cath Anne: [00:00:00] Hey guys. Today on the student influencers podcast we’re joined by Joanne. Joanne is an accounting student living in Buffalo New York. Joanne discusses the ups and downs of university life and the life lessons she’s learned along the way. We talk about culture getting involved in campus activities time management and a lot more.
Cath Anne: [00:00:22] Join me Cath Anne and Joanne on Episode 8 of the student influencers podcast. Hi everyone and welcome back to the show. My name is Cath Anne and today we have Joanne with us. Hi Joanne. Nice to meet you and welcome to the show.
Joanne Lau: [00:00:37] Hi. Thank you for having me.
Cath Anne: [00:00:41] Thank you so much for making the time. I know you’re super busy so I’m so happy that you were able to make the time to chat with us today.
Joanne Lau: [00:00:49] Oh. Well thank you.
Cath Anne: [00:00:55] So we talked a little bit before about where you’re currently living but can you share with with us where you’re where you’re living at the moment.
Joanne Lau: [00:01:05] Oh, well, I’m currently living in New York City. And well I used to live in Canada but I moved to New York City when I was in the seventh grade.
Cath Anne: [00:01:20] Oh OK so you… did you grow up in Canada?
Cath Anne: [00:01:25] And where whereabouts were you living when you when you were growing up?
Joanne Lau: [00:01:28] Markham Ontario.
Cath Anne: [00:01:30] OK. And so your family decided to move to New York. Was there a certain reason for that?
Joanne Lau: [00:01:38] Just my dad’s job because he used to just travel back and forth between New York City and Canada and it was it was kind of tough on him I guess because he did drive every time.
Cath Anne: [00:01:53] Wow.
Joanne Lau: [00:01:54] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:01:55] That’s a long drive from from Ontario to New York.
Joanne Lau: [00:01:58] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:01:59] Wow.
Cath Anne: [00:02:00] So then you guys decided to make the switch and go to New York.
Joanne Lau: [00:02:04] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:02:04] And do you like living in the States?
Joanne Lau: [00:02:10] Yeah at first I didn’t really like it because I just felt like everything where I lived was just so convenient and in this state it was a lot more crowded. Now. I would say that I do like living in New York City because it’s more convenient than I thought. I guess like as I got older. I could have more freedom to go out and I wouldn’t have to go everywhere with my parents so.
Joanne Lau: [00:02:43] It’s not bad.
Cath Anne: [00:02:45] So you could kind of explore things a little bit more and so are you currently in university or college Joanne?
Joanne Lau: [00:02:53] Yeah I am.
Cath Anne: [00:02:54] And what university or college are you going?
Joanne Lau: [00:02:58] I go to University at Buffalo.
Cath Anne: [00:03:01] Oh OK.
Cath Anne: [00:03:02] And what are you studying?
Joanne Lau: [00:03:03] Oh I’m studying accounting.
Cath Anne: [00:03:05] Oh wow. And so is that your that’s your major.
Joanne Lau: [00:03:10] Yeah. That’s my major.
Cath Anne: [00:03:12] Cool. And so what year are you in?
Joanne Lau: [00:03:15] I just finished my sophomore year so I’m going to be a junior in September. Well August end of August.
Cath Anne: [00:03:22] Nice so that you start there you start at the end of August.
Joanne Lau: [00:03:25] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:03:26] OK. How are you enjoying it so far? You liking it?
Joanne Lau: [00:03:31] Yeah. I joined a lot of clubs when I first started college because in high school I wasn’t involved in any way. And I kind of felt a little left out in high school because I didn’t have as many similar extracurriculars as my friends. And so it’s pretty fun because I do so much at school. And I’ve made a lot of friends through the clubs that I’m in.
Cath Anne: [00:04:04] So what what which clubs are you involved in?
Joanne Lau: [00:04:08] I mainly involved in the Asian clubs. They’re like umm say the Hong Kong student association which I’m on the executive for for. The Malaysian student association Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Taiwanese. There’s just a lot of them.
Cath Anne: [00:04:32] That’s a lot. All just based in the university.
Joanne Lau: [00:04:35] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:04:36] And that’s really cool.
Joanne Lau: [00:04:37] Oh yeah. And there’s like others for European countries. Latin American countries and things like that. It’s just usually set up by the international students trying to find more international students and somehow along the way the eight the American students kind of found their way into the clubs because it’s really nice learning more about my own culture and other culture.
Cath Anne: [00:05:07] Right. That is very cool. So have you learned.. so what. So I guess how do you identify in terms of your culture and what have you learned from being involved in those clubs?
Joanne Lau: [00:05:21] Well I’m Chinese but my mom’s side of the family is from Hong Kong and my dad’s side of the family lived in Hong Kong for a while. So I heavily identify with like the Hong Kong side of my family because we do speak Cantonese from time to time. And I went to Hong Kong once before. It was super fun. I want to go back.
Cath Anne: [00:05:48] I can only imagine. Yeah it must have been really cool.
Joanne Lau: [00:05:51] [00:05:51]And I guess what I got from my entire club experience so far is that despite the language barriers that there are and everything like. Everyone has their own culture and. If you give them like a chance to share it with you and if you have a chance to share your culture with them. It’s honestly like so amazing and. You can find out that there are so many similarities too within. Like these cultures and everything. And I don’t know I just. I just find it to be really fun to learn about my friends cultures because I’ve never had Malaysian friends or Singaporean friends right before college and. Well a lot of them graduated this year actually but. [63.9s]
Cath Anne: [00:06:55] Oh really?
Joanne Lau: [00:06:56] Yeah. But I don’t know. It was really fun getting to know them and everything and the bonding time. It’s something that I definitely won’t ever forget.
Cath Anne: [00:07:09] That’s really amazing. I feel like it’s such a good kind of intentional way of creating community on the campus. And so can you tell me like do you do different activities or do you just kind of get together and chat with each other? Or how does that work?
Joanne Lau: [00:07:28] So there are actually requirements for these clubs to be on campus and we follow a two to two rule which means that we have to do at least two informational meetings two events. And we have to do two community service or participation. Events for this school. And so through these meetings so the informational meetings. As someone who is in the Hong Kong student association we would do informational meetings on our culture or the different kinds of food that you can find in Hong Kong and events. We generally would collaborate with other clubs. With smilar cultures or say if there’s a holiday coming up an Asian holiday coming up we’ll collaborate a make a whole big event.
Cath Anne: [00:08:35] Right. That’s really cool. Yeah. So you kind of pique my interest when you said about the food. Do you have any examples of some the food that you might find in Hong Kong?
Joanne Lau: [00:08:52] Well the kinds of food in Hong Kong are kind of like mainly street food and then you – I would say that the Hong Kong cultural food would really just be a fusion of food from of like European Foods and Chinese foods because of the whole thing where Great Britain took over.
Cath Anne: [00:09:19] Right. Yeah absolutely yeah.
Joanne Lau: [00:09:21] And so. For like the Chinese side one of my favorites is curry fish ball and the curry is it like a very thick curry. Generally it’s a little more runny. And the fish balls are like fried fish balls and. When they’re like I personally think the dish is just so good because. Fish balls are generally one of my most favorite like. Things to add to say noodle soups or. Oh yeah. Yeah. And. And things like that. I don’t know. And like just on its own. And then with like its own sauce is just so good.
Cath Anne: [00:10:10] It sounds so good.
Cath Anne: [00:10:11] So do you do a lot of cooking yourself?
Joanne Lau: [00:10:14] Oh yeah. I generally do most of the cooking.
Cath Anne: [00:10:18] At home really?
Joanne Lau: [00:10:19] Like for my club.
Cath Anne: [00:10:21] Oh for your club. That’s awesome. Oh cool. Where did you learn to cook?
Joanne Lau: [00:10:27] Honestly just youtube videos.
Cath Anne: [00:10:30] Really.
Joanne Lau: [00:10:30] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:10:32] Oh that’s amazing.
Joanne Lau: [00:10:33] When I’m at home I don’t really watch my mom cook. But when I – I like to watch cooking YouTube videos for some reason. It’s weird.
Cath Anne: [00:10:47] I feel like it would be.. I’ve never watched them but I feel like it would be very like relaxing. Almost.
Joanne Lau: [00:10:52] Yeah they have. There are some ASMR vooking and baking channels.
Cath Anne: [00:10:57] Oh OK.
Joanne Lau: [00:10:58] Yeah. And they’re so relaxing to watch and usually they’re really aesthetically nice to look at. So it’s it’s some of the videos it’s some of my most favorite videos to watch on YouTube.
Cath Anne: [00:11:16] And so is… Are they the ones that you watch are they mostly like Asian cuisine or Chinese cuisine would you say?
Joanne Lau: [00:11:24] I like to watch honestly anything. If the end product looks really good I’ll watch it.
Cath Anne: [00:11:32] Yeah. Oh I’m getting hungry now. Just talking about.. the fish balls sounds so good.
Cath Anne: [00:11:38] So how do you make those?
Joanne Lau: [00:11:40] So you could actually buy fish balls like the fried fish balls prepackaged at Asian supermarket. Yeah. And then there are three types of curries that I use. And you will need baking powder I think.
Cath Anne: [00:12:00] Mm hmm.
Joanne Lau: [00:12:03] I can’t I can’t remember the last time I made it was a couple months ago but you would basically add water.
Joanne Lau: [00:12:11] The curries to taste and the baking powder to the to a pot and just mix it together bring it to a boil and then in a separate pot you would boil the fried fish balls. So then they’re reheated and they can soak up the sauces and after the fried fish balls are boiled because they soak up the water first. They kind of become very swollen and enlarged. And again I would set it aside.
Joanne Lau: [00:12:49] So then the water slowly comes out of the fish balls. And then I would add it to the sauce and like re boil it.
Cath Anne: [00:12:58] Oh OK. So then you you cook it again.
Joanne Lau: [00:13:00] Yeah and reheat it and let it soak up everything.
Cath Anne: [00:13:06] That sounds amazing. So I bet you your club really loves when you do the cooking.
Joanne Lau: [00:13:10] Yeah I didn’t really cook as many curry fish balls last semester as I did my fall semester.
Joanne Lau: [00:13:19] And what a lot of people complained to me and as.
Cath Anne: [00:13:23] I was going to say.
Joanne Lau: [00:13:24] I was going to make them but since last semester was a really busy semester for me I didn’t really cook as much.
Cath Anne: [00:13:35] OK. So you were a little bit away from it because you were more focused on school.
Joanne Lau: [00:13:39] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:13:41] OK.
Cath Anne: [00:13:42] So I guess moving away from the food even though I want to keep talking about it I feel like we could talk about it the whole time.
Cath Anne: [00:13:50] [00:13:50]So I guess that kind of brings up this idea of and that we’ve talked a lot about on the show is how do you find managing like your time in your clubs and then your study time and having a social life. How do you find that being a student and what are some strategies that you’ve found helpful? [19.5s]
Joanne Lau: [00:14:10] Well I when I first went into college I had a really tough time managing my time and I ended up doing a lot of things that you shouldn’t do like going to class. Yeah.
Joanne Lau: [00:14:26] Like I for some reason thought that I could really wake up for a 9:00 class and finish at around 12:00 and then have evening classes from five to seven.
Cath Anne: [00:14:41] Right.
Joanne Lau: [00:14:42] And that was such a big mistake because I personally am not really someone who sleeps very early so.
Cath Anne: [00:14:53] Right.
Joanne Lau: [00:14:54] I lived in a single dorm for a semester and I would sleep so late. I would sleep around 4:00 in the morning 5:00 in the morning.
Cath Anne: [00:15:04] Wow.
Joanne Lau: [00:15:05] Yeah. Because I just completely lost track of time because I’d just be watching YouTube videos or Netflix and I wouldn’t go to sleep until I felt tired and there was no one there to tell me to go to sleep. And so. I ended up not going to class. I joined Hong Kong’s Student Association my first semester of freshman year and all I did was just go to our club meetings where we would plan things. But then when it came to the actual events I didn’t have time to go because I actually had class from 5 to 7 and then my club meetings were from 6 to 8 so I couldn’t really go.
Cath Anne: [00:15:55] Yeah.
Joanne Lau: [00:15:56] So I never went to my morning classes then I would go to just my evening classes and then I made more friends and I ended up not going to any of my even classes either. So while I actually began college with a two point nine GPA because I just didn’t go to class right and I had no idea what was going on and I knew I had to fix that because I didn’t want a two point nine and I know that if I knew that if I did study and if I did go to class I would have done better because there are so many things that you learn during class that might not be in the PowerPoint or the notes that the professor puts up.
Cath Anne: [00:16:45] Absolutely.
Joanne Lau: [00:16:45] And like if I have any questions I can ask the professor if it’s a small class or I could ask the professor after class but I ended up just studying right before a test and if I had questions I didn’t want to ask a professor because I didn’t want the professor to be like “Oh why didn’t you ask me this when we were learning it.”.
Cath Anne: [00:17:10] Right.
Joanne Lau: [00:17:10] [00:17:10]Yes. Right. And so I decided to really change this. My second semester and I started to go to class a little more. I chose classes that were that started at 12:00. [17.4s]
Joanne Lau: [00:17:30] [00:17:30]And I didn’t do any more morning classes. I really try to stay on top of my work but then I started to focus on the club stuff a little too much and so it was kind of like an imbalance for a year and this past year fall semester. I chose classes that would start at 11:00 and then I would end at around 2-3. [33.2s]
Cath Anne: [00:18:05] Right. Yeah.
Joanne Lau: [00:18:06] So then I had time for club club stuff and I could do it in the evening. Yeah. And I also chose a schedule where I could wake up in the morning.
Cath Anne: [00:18:20] Right yes. And so how it – sorry go ahead.
Cath Anne: [00:18:26] No I was just going to ask about. How did you kind of get back on schedule with your sleeping?
Joanne Lau: [00:18:34] Because I lived in a single it was really hard for me to fix my sleeping schedule.
Joanne Lau: [00:18:42] But.
Joanne Lau: [00:18:44] [00:18:44]I actually started rooming with one of my friends a sophomore year and then that’s when I would go to sleep earlier because she would sleep at a certain time and then I didn’t want to be awake and bother her. [16.1s]
Joanne Lau: [00:19:01] So I would go to sleep too.
Cath Anne: [00:19:04] Okay so it kind of got you back on track.
Cath Anne: [00:19:07] Interesting.
Cath Anne: [00:19:09] So it sounds like you know you had some struggles at first but it was almost like you didn’t… Correct me if I’m wrong but you didn’t know almost what to expect when you were in university like you planned your you picked courses that weren’t really conducive to your lifestyle and you didn’t know you didn’t know you lost track of time because you stayed up too late but then it sounds like you took that and learned from it.
Joanne Lau: [00:19:36] Yep.
Cath Anne: [00:19:36] And yeah awesome.
Joanne Lau: [00:19:39] Yeah.
Joanne Lau: [00:19:41] So this past year I just. Kind of got everything back on track and I… I’ve been sleeping a little earlier like at around 12:00 and I now naturally wake up at around 9 which is really nice because then I can choose a schedule that starts a little earlier too.
Cath Anne: [00:20:11] Right. So you could do some earlier classes if you wanted to.
Joanne Lau: [00:20:14] Yeah. And because in Buffalo. Well like the more north it gets like the days are shorter in the winter time. And it just seems like winter all the time in Buffalo.
Cath Anne: [00:20:29] Really?
Joanne Lau: [00:20:29] Yeah.
Joanne Lau: [00:20:31] I don’t know where it’s like I just feel like when I lived in Canada it wasn’t as cold as it was in Buffalo.
Cath Anne: [00:20:40] Wow. Really.
Joanne Lau: [00:20:41] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:20:43] Well I guess Ontario is pretty warm. I would say for a Canadian province.
Joanne Lau: [00:20:49] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:20:49] But yeah I’ve never been to Buffalo so it’s what’s it like there now?
Joanne Lau: [00:20:54] I mean right now I think the weather is.
Joanne Lau: [00:20:58] So the weather in New York City currently is in the. Low 70s. Yesterday it rained and was pretty bad. But in Buffalo it’s 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cath Anne: [00:21:15] My goodness. Seriously?
Joanne Lau: [00:21:16] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:21:17] Wow.
Joanne Lau: [00:21:19] It’s. I don’t know why it’s always so cold there. I think maybe it’s because like just an hour out of Buffalo there’s just mountains everywhere I guess. And that makes sense. Yeah. And Buffalo itself like the campus is just open it’s completely open. Yeah. And there’s not a lot of high rise buildings because. The college wants to make it more of an eco friendly place. And I guess when it’s when they take pictures of the campus too it looks better when there are like six high rise buildings in the middle of nowhere.
Cath Anne: [00:22:02] Sure. Yeah that totally makes sense.
Cath Anne: [00:22:06] And weatherwise like you say it’s a bit more northern so it would naturally be a bit cold. So Joanne aside from like your club experiences do you have a favorite university or college experience?
Joanne Lau: [00:22:21] I think one of my most favorite experiences is actually in my most recent accounting class.
Cath Anne: [00:22:41] Oh cool.
Joanne Lau: [00:22:43] Because I feel like there are a lot of ups and downs in this situation but the end product was like pretty good because.
Cath Anne: [00:22:52] And so..
Joanne Lau: [00:22:53] Oh yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:22:55] So what, what happened?
Joanne Lau: [00:22:56] Oh so on the first accounting class that I took it was pretty easy it wasn’t bad and a lot of people recognized that it was a fairly easy course and the professor was really good. But this past semester the second accounting class that I took the professor didn’t seem to be as passionate about the material as the previous professor. And yeah. And he didn’t teach very well like he would give us participation questions that we had to answer in class before he taught the material. So of course this we wouldn’t do well on the questions but they were graded. So it just didn’t it wasn’t very fun and I took the class with one of my friends. He he and I actually went to the same middle school high in high school and now we’re off to college. Yeah. And my goodness. We kind of would get together and do. Homework together. Just in case one of us needed help. We would study together and everything. And he was actually the president of the Malaysian student association.
Cath Anne: [00:24:17] Oh no way.
Joanne Lau: [00:24:18] Yeah.
Joanne Lau: [00:24:19] That’s cool.
Joanne Lau: [00:24:19] And I was just vice president for a Hong Kong student association. So through the accounting class we actually became a lot closer. And we would talk more about club struggles or in class struggles and. We would… so the first part of the semester I actually didn’t really understand much of what was going on in class. And he really understood what was going on in class so he would show me how to do certain things and teach me how to like the concepts. I was out of class and the midterm came and went. I did. All right. I got like a B plus on the midterm and I was a little bummed out because at my school if you get the low and b in any of the first two accounting classes A B or lower you get kicked out of accounting. Wow. Yeah. So I was really worried. And the second half of the semester came by and. I understood what was going on but my friend did it so I would teach him the concepts and everything. Oh yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:25:41] And so the roles reversed, cool.
Joanne Lau: [00:25:45] And then the final came and went and I was honestly so paranoid that I did not do well. Even though I actually went in and when I took the final it was one of the easiest finals I ever took.
Cath Anne: [00:26:01] Wow really?
Joanne Lau: [00:26:02] Yeah. But I was a little paranoid because I just worry about my grades so much. And. Like when I got my final grade back finally it was the last great one of the last grades to come out. I ended up with an A. And I was so ashamed to use because blazing. I I guess the class was it had its ups and downs but looking back at it it was probably the most fun I’ve had in any class because I got to take it with friends. And write. I was able to bond with one of my friends from middle school in high school and I ended up being more involved in his club. He ended up being more involved in my club. As the semester progressed as well.
Cath Anne: [00:27:01] That’s so cool. I love that and it just goes to show that I mean education is really important and the classroom stuff is really important. But you can get more than just the academic piece you’re talking of a you know cultivating your community and strengthening a bond with a friend which are so important and huge important aspects of being in university.
Cath Anne: [00:27:26] That’s amazing. Very cool. And so with your accounting is there something… Do you have any short term or long term goals that you’re you’re hoping to work toward?
Joanne Lau: [00:27:39] Well…
Joanne Lau: [00:27:43] I really want to get my CPA.
Cath Anne: [00:27:46] Yes.
Joanne Lau: [00:27:47] Which. That is very important to me because I feel like with it honestly I can do anything.
Cath Anne: [00:27:56] I would say yes.
Joanne Lau: [00:27:58] And so that’s more of my short term goal. And also getting into the Masters program at Baruch in New York City because I actually got into Baruch for undergrad. But I turned it down for Buffalo because I wanted to experience going away for college. OK but now looking at it sometimes I do wish that I just stayed because there are so many opportunities at Brooke and I didn’t weigh the job opportunities that I could have had.
Cath Anne: [00:28:40] Right.
Joanne Lau: [00:28:41] So now. So it was really a choice between going away and having more job opportunities. But the job opportunities didn’t see that big of a deal to me when I was in high school and I just wanted to go away at the time.
Cath Anne: [00:28:55] Yeah sure.
Cath Anne: [00:28:57] And I’m sure like it sounds like you’ve learned a lot of lessons and you’ve done a lot of growing since you you started.
Cath Anne: [00:29:04] Oh that’s a wonderful experience and valuable experience that you’ve had in going away.
Joanne Lau: [00:29:11] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:29:13] So would you when you write the CPA will that be when you graduate?
Joanne Lau: [00:29:19] I need to actually have a 150 college credits in order to take the CPA.
Cath Anne: [00:29:26] OK.
Joanne Lau: [00:29:26] Yeah. And I came in to college a semester earlier than my friends because I don’t know if people know about the college now program in New York City. But basically it’s free college credits for high school students. Wow. Yeah. And cool. They do transfer over to a lot of universities and colleges and I guess you would just have to see if your school is up Simona or not. And generally for Sunnis. They would take them as elective credits if they don’t count towards an actual class. Oh yeah. Interesting. So luckily for me three of them came through as actual classes and two of them were elective credits. And so my school has. A requirement called that the Matic pathways and it’s sort of like an opportunity for students to explore the different. I guess pathways that they can go down like if they are a engineering major but they’re interested in business. They can go down the business pathway but they don’t have to major or minor in it which is pretty nice. And so two out of three of the. Courses that were transferred over. Counted towards mathematic pathways.
Joanne Lau: [00:31:03] So I was able to take much less credit than a lot of my friends throughout my time here.
Cath Anne: [00:31:12] Wow. So. So what is your somatic pathway?
Joanne Lau: [00:31:16] I just chose art because cool. I really I was.. I just looked at the final course that I had to take and the only one that I really wanted to take was mythology and ancient art. Oh yeah. I don’t know. It was super random but it sounds interesting. It was pretty interesting.
Joanne Lau: [00:31:39] The only downside to it was that in art history you have to memorize art pieces and the right name to artists and like where did it come from. And so it took a lot of memorization.
Cath Anne: [00:31:55] For sure. Cool. That’s a really interesting thing to kind of pair with accounting because they are different.
Joanne Lau: [00:32:05] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:32:06] On opposite sides of the spectrum I would say.
Joanne Lau: [00:32:08] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:32:10] That’s interesting. [00:32:11]So how did you get interested in accounting.. What. What kind of inspired you to pursue that path?[4.3s]
Joanne Lau: [00:32:19] [00:32:19]I don’t know ever since I was young. I… I’ve actually always liked numbers I’ve always liked math and I’ve always been the sort of very meticulously detailed person. OK. And I don’t know maybe it’s my sort of upbringing as well because I. I. Was brought up by all my grandmother on my mom’s side and my mom and they’re both a little meticulous. Detailed as well and they really write cute when things are very organized and I would copy what they [47.0s] did and I would listen to them. And listen to whatever they said because in my mind it’s like they’re older than me. They know better than me I have to listen to them. I have to listen to my elders and so now I’m very meticulous and I like it when things are a certain way.
Joanne Lau: [00:33:29] And I don’t have like an obsessive compulsive disorder but I feel like things have to be a certain way and set up a certain way or I have to fix it.
Cath Anne: [00:33:47] Right. But that I feel like that is a really really good tendency to have in accounting.
Joanne Lau: [00:33:54] Yeah. And I have a lot of attention to detail so when it does come to accounting and like translating it into the work that I’ll do in the future it’s kind of like. I know to look out for certain numbers and if like certain numbers don’t look right I’m going to try and see what’s wrong.
Cath Anne: [00:34:18] Right.
Cath Anne: [00:34:20] You’ll you’ll notice those discrepancies.
Cath Anne: [00:34:24] Yeah. No I think that’s a really good use of kind of your natural ability it sounds like you’re very detail oriented.
Joanne Lau: [00:34:31] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:34:31] So I would want someone detail oriented doing my accounting so I think you’re in the right field.
Joanne Lau: [00:34:38] Yeah. I really wanted to do marketing at first but then I was also super interested in human resources as well as finance and so.
Joanne Lau: [00:34:52] I just decided you know in accounting you can do anything business related when you graduate.
Cath Anne: [00:34:58] So true.
Joanne Lau: [00:35:00] But if I just majored in marketing I can’t go into finance without knowing training very limited.
Cath Anne: [00:35:07] Yeah.
Joanne Lau: [00:35:07] Yep. And if I do marketing I can’t go into accounting ever. So. I might as well just do accounting and if I can’t really excel in it hopefully I do.
Cath Anne: [00:35:21] It sounds like you’re on the right track.
Joanne Lau: [00:35:24] Yeah I think worst case scenario I would go into finance because within finance it is possible to do some accounting. It’s just a lot harder to get into it.
Cath Anne: [00:35:41] Oh yeah. So what would finance involve?
Joanne Lau: [00:35:48] I’m sorry what do you mean?
Cath Anne: [00:35:50] Oh sorry. Like so what. What type of a job would you do I guess in finance?
Joanne Lau: [00:35:59] I guess like when it comes to stocks I find them to be really interesting. So I would want to work with stocks but my only fear with that is if I convince someone to put money into a certain stock and the stock doesn’t do well right. It wouldn’t be great.
Cath Anne: [00:36:19] Right. I’m sure that would come with experience but yeah that would. That’s definitely would be a worry.
Joanne Lau: [00:36:28] Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:36:31] So Joanne we’ve talked about quite a bit but I was wondering if you have a favorite motivational quote that you’d like to share.
Joanne Lau: [00:36:41] I actually don’t have a favorite motivational quote.
Cath Anne: [00:36:44] So you don’t have you don’t have a quote. That’s OK.
Joanne Lau: [00:36:47] Yeah I don’t really. I’ve never really like read up on quotes or had any quote really speak to me.
Cath Anne: [00:36:59] No that makes sense.
Cath Anne: [00:37:00] I think some people you know some people gravitate towards quotes and then it’s not for everyone for sure.
Joanne Lau: [00:37:07] Yeah I don’t know. Oh sorry. Yeah.
Cath Anne: [00:37:11] Oh no that’s okay. But I guess instead do you have any advice that you would give to a first year student that’s just entering college or university for the first time?
Joanne Lau: [00:37:25] [00:37:25]Honestly I would say find a schedule that fits your personality and lifestyle. And not. Be involved. It can be hard but if you bring your friends with you. Like it’s a lot easier to socialize with people and you can reach out to any clubs or associations to find out more information. Yeah I think being involved with clubs as well you can meet a lot of people who. Is in your major and you can learn more about [49.7s] the things that entail in your major and sometimes you can get notes from them or and any advice or tips from them too.
Cath Anne: [00:38:27] Right. I think that’s amazing advice. Because I think you’re right. It can be difficult to get involved.
Cath Anne: [00:38:35] But it’s so important. It’s such an important part of the university and college experience. Yeah sure. Awesome. Well thanks so much. Was there anything else you wanted to share before we end off the interview?
Joanne Lau: [00:38:49] Oh no I don’t think so.
Cath Anne: [00:38:53] Well thanks so much Joanne for joining us. I really appreciate you making the time to talk with us today and I think everything you’ve shared is going to be so valuable for our listeners because you’ve just been so genuine and authentic and able to share your real experience and that’s so valuable.
Joanne Lau: [00:39:12] Well thank you for having me here. It was really fun talking with you.
Cath Anne: [00:39:17] Thank you so much for joining me and we’ll keep in touch. Yes definitely false sense. Good. Thanks, take care.
Joanne Lau: [00:39:25] You too. OK. Bye bye.