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Brendan Lau

Beat the Odds

My proudest achievement from my time in MI was securing a place in Sciences Po, a Political Science University in France. Even though it is not as recognised as Harvard or Oxford, it is the world’s fourth-best university in political science. Five of the last six French presidents have gone there.

The process was not easy. I was from the Arts Stream when I did my A-levels, which basically meant I had to memorise hundreds of pages, manage the information and apply them under exam conditions. Often, during the holidays, I would start studying at 5 am and not be done until 3 am the next morning.

My teachers in MI played a significant role in my academic achievement. Many of them stayed with me until very late in school to give me consultation despite their family and personal commitments. Once, I stopped to thank a teacher for doing this, and her response made me feel touched. She told me that she was there to help me with my studies and would go the extra mile even if I needed her help late in the night. That culture of care in MI teachers really helped me tide through the three years in MI.

The teachers’ involvement did not stop even after my A-levels. The application process to Sciences Po was not easy as it required me to hand in several academic essays and letters of recommendation. Once again, my MI teachers supported me by writing recommendation letters in their own time and editing my essays for me. This, I think, really helped me in securing a place in Sciences Po, and for this I will always be thankful to them.

To all my juniors, remember this, anyone can be great. Your vision and your values will guide you towards your aspirations. Your teachers will always be there to guide you and support you throughout your journey.