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Daphne Ong

Dear First Year Me,

You must be both very excited and very nervous right now. First year is like that a little, but don’t worry, you’ll be okay. There is so much I want to share with you but so much you’ll have to just learn and experience for yourself. You are in for a crazy fun adventure, one that you never came close to even imagining that you would have.

You are about to have some of the best years of your life! You’re going to meet amazing people and make great connections: friends, peers, role models, and mentors. Some of those friends you just made during EngFrosh and in linear algebra? Surprise! They are going to become some of your most dearest friends, and remain so after graduation, but that’s all I can say for now *spoilers* (You’ll get that reference in a few years).

You are still young and full of energy right now, but that’s how you face the world and keep embracing new challenges and experiences with a strong drive, passion and love. Life has a few important lessons coming your way; so when the tough reality of the world reveals itself to you, please try not to lose sight of this. Your drive and passion are some of the best parts of you, it’s not easy to get that back if you lose sight of it.

As with all things there will be highs and lows: with school, work, relationships with the people around you, and with yourself. But you know what? You are stronger than you realize. Trust that inner instinct not to give up when you think you are about to, you’ll make it through. You will grow with each experience, good and bad, learn a lot about yourself, about the type of person you are and the person want to be.

Get involved. Life isn’t all about the classroom education experience you receive. School isn’t just about studying all the time (though do keep a strong work ethic, especially with that Engineering Stats course!). Get out there! That’s how you are going meet so many extraordinary people, grow, gain a wider perspective of the world around you and have so many valuable experiences and adventures. Join intramurals, go to Whirlwind and Reflections, attend conferences, join clubs and societies! Don’t let an opportunity slip by you even when everyone thinks you’re crazy for doing all that you’ll be drawn to. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone for new experiences. Trust me, it was all worth it.

Remember to keep dreaming big. Remember to keep chasing your dreams even when things don’t go as planned. It’s easy to get caught up in the dreams and needs of others but don’t lose sight of your own ambitions and your beliefs. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Forget what others think. Surround yourself in good company, like good friends, who lift you up, support and encourage you in good times and bad. At the end of the day, you’re all in this together, and will all look like crap together after all-nighters and exams.

Learn to take care of yourself. As time goes by it surprisingly gets harder to do, so try to work on this now. Getting a good nights sleep every once in a while will help ????

Remember to also have fun. Do the things you want to do. You never know where you will find yourself. Just remember to be you and keep doing what you love.

Love Always,



Daphne Ong is currently a M.A.Sc. Student in Biomedical Engineering at Carleton University, where she graduated with her B.Eng. in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering in 2012. She is passionate about health care, clinical and engineering research, Women in STEM initiatives, and tech education and outreach for girls. She has a love for all things in geek culture, reading too much fiction, creative writing, playing ultimate Frisbee, photography, dance, daydreaming and singing when no one else is listening. She is involved with the Carleton Chapter of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), has been involved with several campus clubs and societies (for example IEEE, WIE, [email protected], CUBES, Glee Club and more) and volunteers for outreach initiatives such as GoEngGirl, and Virtual Ventures.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter Handle: @Daphs_O

Daphne looking over the Grand Canyon during her trip to The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women In Computing, in Phoenix, Arizona, 2014.


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