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Genuine Gold

Graduating With Life Lessons in Gaining Confidence and Being Kind

Yu-Chieh Sung sitting outside in graduation cap and gown.

Yu-Chieh Sung is a senior from southern Taiwan, graduating with a bachelor's in accounting this spring. When asked why she chose to attend BYU–Hawaii, she talks about being drawn to the Holokai program and having the flexibility of trying different courses before deciding upon her major. However, after two failed attempts to pass the English proficiency exam, Sung wondered if BYU–Hawaii wasn't meant to be a part of her journey and decided to prepare to serve a full-time mission. After serving in the San Diego, California mission for about a year, her mission president encouraged her to retake the English proficiency test for the third and, to her surprise, the final time. Finally, she was accepted to BYU–Hawaii after tests of grammar and faith. "Putting the Lord first and finishing my mission brought me here," now, Sung gets to fulfill her dream of graduating from college this weekend.

Although she was grateful to be here, Sung admits the stress surrounding her grades and education would sometimes feel overwhelming. She recalls thinking she wanted to hurry and graduate to "get it over with." Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, sending Sung home to Taiwan for a year and a half. She continued her studies online, but being home with family was an unexpected blessing. Though online courses presented new challenges, being home in a familiar environment allowed her a much-needed break to relax and recharge. A benefit she didn't expect from something initially seen as disturbing her education.

Yu-Chieh Sung standing outside with graduation cap and gown

Sung recalls encouraging and supportive professors throughout her academic journey but specifically wanted to thank Professor White. She goes on to share, "He believed in me. I'm not really sure why, but he did, and he even hired me as his teaching assistant for his accounting classes." This position led Sung to find joy in helping students understand accounting, despite feeling inadequate with her English. The accounting program and mentors also provided additional opportunities, such as the 2022 Accounting Student Case Competition, an accounting competition where groups of students could compete for cash prizes. Not thinking much about the incentives, she decided to participate after being invited to a team by a classmate. Sung was surprised when they took first place, stating, "I was excited to win, but even more, the competition gave me confidence in what I'm doing now."

Parting advice Sung leaves with peers is to be kind. "If we are kind to one person, that person can be kind to others and influence them to do the same. This world would be a better place if more people were kind." Sung appreciates all the people who helped her along her journey. Seeing how they impacted her life, she says, "they impacted me so much, and they were just being kind."