“Waterloo is always a challenge,” says Financial Analysis and Risk Management student, Jeffrey Gao. “The academics make sure you always push yourself and continue to learn. It forces you to work at your best capabilities.” When Jeffrey is not in class or keeping up with his coursework, he likes to write. In fact, Jeffrey has recently completed his first novel – a young adult science fiction piece that is in the process of being published.
“I had the idea in my mind for many many years, but I never materialized it into a story,” says Jeffrey. “The summer after first year I started developing the idea and started writing in September and continued since then. At the halfway point I found out that it could be serious and it could go somewhere. It draws on some of my coursework; it is based on a hypothesis and determinism. It talks about the fundamental change on how events progress and I implement that into a story and how it affects a high schooler’s life. I explore this through mechanisms, and reveal people’s motivations, their nature, and how they interact with people. It is a medium of communicating deeper aspects of the personality.”
Jeffrey says that most of his second year was consumed by school and writing, “I just kept writing and writing because the creative juices were just coming. Then I started revising and looking into publishing opportunities. It became a side activity on my part. That year, I didn’t do much besides write and do school work.”
Outside of the completion of his novel and finishing his undergraduate degree, Jeffrey has also completed an internship at the Bank of Shanghai. Jeffrey is set on graduating this year, and has been applying to various graduate programs and careers related to his degree. He says, “I chose to come to Waterloo because I am strong in mathematics. Waterloo is the best school for math, and I choose to do Financial Analysis and Risk Management for something more practical.” Jeffrey enjoys studying in the Mathematics & Computing Building (MC) labs because there are typically fewer people in there than the Davis Centre Library. He also advises incoming students to have a solid preparation in math before coming to Waterloo.
With a bright future ahead of him, Jeffrey is looking forward to either continuing his studies or finding a full-time position. He also says “I hope I can use my writing skills in the future. If a bright idea comes to me in the future, I’d definitely be motivated to start writing again.”