111 the university’s stellar reputation, she was excited to discover that it also had a welcoming atmosphere and accommodating faculty for students like herself who had diverse passions, interests, and aspirations. Before COVID-19 forced almost all educational institutes online, Hiu-Yau’s rigorous training schedule meant she needed some flexibility to attend classes virtually, and she was relieved to find this available at HKUST. Of course, there were those who doubted and discouraged Hiu-Yau when she decided to continue as an elite athlete while studying. They told her that academia should always take top priority — but Hiu-Yau was determined to be both athlete and academic. In fact, she had already experienced how her athletic training could complement her studies. She credits figure skating with helping her overcome another challenge facing her since childhood — dyslexia. Hiu-Yau had long struggled to keep up at school due to her dyslexia, which caused difficulty reading and writing, as well as mirror-writing (writing letters in reverse). In an incredibly fortuitous turn of events, Hiu-Yau found that her mild dyslexia seemed to subside when she was learning and practicing spins on the ice. While her doctor says there’s no scientific explanation for this improvement, it is possible that learning to spin stimulated the growth of beneficial neural pathways in her brain. While striking the balance between time on the ice and time in her lectures hasn’t always come easy, Hiu-Yau’s dedication to both of her passions has seen her overcome this challenge. She believes that pursuing athletics and academics simultaneously has honed her time-management skills and sense of resilience — with the opportunity to keep her brain and body at their optimum. The struggles she has endured and skills she has developed have equipped her for the future, beyond university and the ice rink. She knows she is entering her golden period for figure skating and will be competing as a Senior for the first time in 2022. Undeterred, she is excited by what is on the horizon, and knows that through HKUST, she can look forward to a future working in the engineering field. Today, Hiu-Yau is an inspiration to those around her and credits her friends, family, and Christian faith for helping her strive for excellence. She has come a long way, meeting challenge after challenge with determination and grace. For HiuYau, success can be measured by performance, but it can also be measured by the strength of one’s character, and building the right balance between academia and athletics is one of her proudest achievements.