Wong has fallen in love with criminology while growing academically and professionally at the School of Criminology.

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How fear of failure motivated Emma Wong to overcome uncertainty at SFU

March 10, 2020
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By Poonam Kant

Deciding between majoring in criminology or psychology and whether a BA degree should mark the end of her academic road was making criminology student Emma Wong anxious.

Wong began her academic career in the SFU-Douglas partnership program, enjoying the flexibility of moving between the two institutions, which improved her chances of getting into courses she sought and gave her more time to explore her options.

"When I applied to the partnership program, I intended to become a psychology major," says Wong. "But I fell in love with criminology after my first semester taking two criminology classes at Douglas. I was also lucky in knowing that SFU had a renowned reputation for criminology."

Despite switching her major from criminology, Wong was unsure of her ability to do qualitative research worthy of the honours program, and couldn't fathom proceeding to grad school.

But after connecting with like-minded peers who understood her struggle with uncertainty, she was able to fight off her perfectionist tendencies and fear of failure to work her way out of the valley of indecision. 

Her belief that performing research and statistics were beyond her capability had made her swear entirely off the idea of ever going to grad school.

The experience pushed Wong out of her comfort zone and she is now conducting her honours research on ethnic minority women's experience of fear of crime on public transportation.

Wong greatly credits the School of Criminology for improving her perception of higher education by allowing her to expand her research and writing skills.

"The quality of the faculty, classes and honours program has made my experience positive," she says. "I have grown both academically and professionally, and although I don't have all the answers about my future, I do know that if I want to pursue academia as a profession, the skills and knowledge I have gained at SFU will be invaluable."

Nearing the end of her time at SFU, Wong is looking back on her journey with appreciation and excitement for what the future can bring. MA or not, one thing is for sure: she no longer fears the unknown.


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