Credit: Yannie Heng


On the water

– Yannie Heng –

Michaelmas Term, 2017


My name is Yannie Heng, and I am a senior biology pre-medical student at Wheaton College. I was at Oxford during Michaelmas term of 2017, and studied Developmental Psychology and Memory, Attention, and Information Processing to fulfil my psychology minor requirements. My term at Oxford has been one of the most rewarding times of my life. My challenging tutorials shaped me, forcing me to think, write, and research in new ways. The brilliant lectures, seemingly countless resources, and myriad of outside events gave me a newfound fascination for my topic. Best of all, my new friends, especially those in Mansfield Hall and Queen’s College, immersed me into university life, providing me with new experiences and perspectives, which have shaped how I approach the world today.

Rowing was one of the unexpected joys of Oxford. I had never been part of a team sport before, and after spontaneously deciding to give this a shot, was quickly welcomed into the Queen’s College Boat Club. There, I realized that I didn’t have to be the best athlete in order to train; outing spots were determined by who signed up. As long as I showed up and did the work, I would become a better rower. That was that. And so I went, doing land training in the boathouse or getting up for morning outings in the water. When I row, I’m totally removed from everything else. My phone is gone, I’m no longer working on assignments, and talking with fellow teammates is usually difficult. Instead, all I’m focusing on is how to move the boat properly, giving me a much-needed break from my usually frazzled life.

Despite being the smallest girl on the team, I was selected to row for both novice regattas. The Christ-Church Regatta was one of my favourite experiences, as we managed to reach the quarterfinals after racing for several days. The camaraderie that I got to experience with my team after spending so much time with them, the exhilarating feeling of being on the water, the cheering that would occur as we raced past, the screaming of our coxswain the entire time, and having support from my friends and the rest of the boat club are memories that I will cherish for a long time.

After college, I’m going to medical school in hopes of becoming a paediatrician that works in the field of global health.Rowing hasn’t really played a role after Oxford, unfortunately, but this experience has reminded me how rewarding it can be to just jump into new adventures, as many unexpected joys may result.

Yannie, MT17