Humans of HKUST (HOH) is a student-led project established over 5 years ago that aims to gain insights of valuable life experiences by interviewing HKUST international and local students, and also staff throughout the academic year.

HOH covers topics ranging all the way from politics, personal stories, hobbies, opinion pieces and about life in general. The main driving motto is that “Every human is a storybook waiting to be read.” HOH aims to open these books and spread them to the HKUST community, and thus connecting people through more relatable content and showing how diverse HKUST really is.

If you would like to share your stories with HOH, you can sign up here or contact them at their Facebook page.

The sharing in below are reproduced with permission solely for CampusUp eNews. Students are not named at the request of HOH.

Sharing 1 - "Talking about mental health tends to bring up a super negative stigma...I want to talk about mental health in a factual way."

“I’m still a very optimistic positive person, but I do have anxiety, and that’s okay. It’s not convenient - I don’t think any mental health disorder is ‘convenient’, but talking about mental health tends to bring up a super negative stigma. I want to talk about mental health in a factual way, where we realize that everyone struggles with their own issues. We all suffer from our own problems, and it’s okay.

I recently had a really bad panic attack, probably the worst of my life. It happened in immigration - a big trigger for a lot of people is the feeling of being trapped, so when you’re trapped in a bus or a long line, you get a panic attack because you can’t leave when you need to. I got off the boat and I saw that the line for immigration was super long, and hid in the bathroom for an hour, freaking out about nothing.

I cried for two days after, because I felt so defeated by it. This disorder that I had once told myself was not incapacitating suddenly became exactly that. My friend who was with me at the time told me, “No one wins every day. It might have taken you an hour, but you left after the hour, you ended up overcoming the anxiety.” That made me cry even harder because it was so sweet. That’s the best mentality to have - it’s okay if you don’t win today, it’s okay if today took you three hours, it’s fine because if you take your time to get help, then it only gets better from there.

Yoga’s been amazing for me, I’ve been trying to get everyone I know to do yoga. We don’t take enough time out of our day to just… be, and yoga is that time for me. When you do yoga, you think about your pose, how your body is feeling, how your breathing is, and that’s it. Other than that you’re thinking about nothing, and allowing yourself to just… be.”

Sharing 2 - "Coming from a Bangladeshi Muslim society, it is unreal for a woman to be single...My mum, however, she’s a warrior."

“My mother inspires me and motivates me to do better, for myself and for others. For people like us, coming from a Bangladeshi Muslim society, it is unreal for a woman to be single, to be working, to have been divorced and to reject remarrying, and to have a daughter my age. My mum, however, she’s a badass.

She took a big leap to send me abroad. She is a banker, the head of a department, and she goes out there and fights in a man-dominated world, where patriarchy is strong every single day. It is a challenge for her, and there are many borders she had to cross to come to this level, but she made me who I am today.

My experiences with her made me a very empathetic person. Back in Bangladesh, there are many unattended issues, but I realised I was able to fight things like harassment with technology. Technology enables me to change a person’s life, someone my age, someone who didn’t know what to do in the face of harassment - I could help them. Now that I’ve come so far, I want to keep doing this. I want to get involved in things in which I can pursue my passion, doing something that fulfils me and that helps people. I wouldn’t say I want to do something as deep as changing the world, but it would be interesting to leave a mark.”

Sharing 3 - "When we look back on our lives, we want to remember the moments that make us smile."

“Last month I gave a violin recital in China. After the show, a girl came up to me and told me that some of her friends were crying when they heard me play the Cantopop song “陀飛輪” (“Tourbillon”) by Eason Chan. Although the song deals with the sombre theme of the passage of time, never had I thought that this piece would bring someone to tears. That moment really stuck with me.

I used to play music for my enjoyment but after high school, my interpretation of music completely changed. Now, I think music is an incredibly universal tool – it unites people from all walks of life, reminds everyone to live a little, and inspires all to savour every passing moment. When so many are able to resonate with it on a universal yet deeper level, its different shades of emotions shine through. That’s what drives my passion for it to this day.

I even started a Youtube channel to upload a violin video. I thought that video was going to be the only one I would ever make but after hearing all the positive feedback, I knew I had to continue. I want to continue, not only to entertain people but also to touch upon some deeper themes like loneliness, because in the end we’re all truly humans and we eventually have to take those paths.

When we look back on our lives, we want to remember the moments that make us smile.

Sharing 4 - "We’re always changing the world for the better or worse, without even knowing it, we all have the power to do so."

“We’re always changing the world for the better or worse, without even knowing it, we all have the power to do so. That’s what I see myself doing throughout my life, changing the world, for the better. I can’t imagine living my entire life in a world with so much violence. We’re so blind to it because there are a countless number of violent acts that happen behind closed doors. However, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that they exist.

My empathy and need to create a change is why I went vegan. I felt as if I could genuinely feel the pain and suffering that animals go through. After going vegan, the difference it could make became apparent to me and I realized that anybody could change the world. We often think it’s some impossible and unachievable goal, which I hear from people all the time. As cliche as it sounds, I feel as if it’s my job to speak for those that don’t have a voice, which animals don’t. The same can be said for so many people around the world that can’t express their pain and struggle. Human and animal rights are the two beliefs I could never back down from, these are issues I want to dedicate my entire life to.

I want to be able to influence people through business to change their actions, to focus on the world’s greatest issues such as violence against animals, human injustice, global warming and making the world a better place. It all happens by influencing people to change their day to day decisions, because whether we like it or not, everything we do affects the world we live in and everyone else in it. It’s going to be a long process, but it starts with small steps. I just hope I’m not too late to make a difference, to save our planet and stop the suffering.”