PETALING JAYA: Oxford University top scorer Leroy Lim Shen Wing is no nerd, the stereotype identity of academic achievers.
He is a keen rower and has also picked up powerlifting, and represented the university in the annual match against the University of Cambridge.
The Kuala Lumpur-born came out top of his Engineering, Economics, and Management (EEM) class at the prestigious university.
Lim said it was a lovely surprise for him when he was recently awarded the Maurice Lubbock Prize for top overall performance in Honour School of EEM at the university.
“Although this was a secret goal of mine, I never consider it a realistic one!
“At Oxford, I was surrounded by some truly brilliant minds, many of whom I consider far more talented and deserving of recognition than myself, and to be recognised this way was a complete surprise!” said the 22-year-old Lim, who is a member of the St John’s College in the university.
He said that finding balance was a challenge at the university, especially when faced with a daunting work load.
“With only 24 hours in a day, it sometimes seemed impossible to fit in social time and extracurriculars in between studying but I quickly realised they were all part of the recipe for success.
“Making time for my friends and getting involved with societies and clubs helped keep my mental health in check and kept my brain refreshed for intense studying sessions,” he added.
Lim said that despite having lived in Britain since he was 16, he still misses the famous Malaysian food.
“I spent a large proportion of my time in the UK hunting for the best Malaysian eateries and discovered a large Malaysian subculture, especially in London.
“I am also very fortunate to be able to balik kampung once or twice a year so I was never too far from home,” he said.
He added that while he was proud of his achievement, he was also grateful to have been lucky to have a supportive family and friends.
“It is an absolute honour and although I am proud of it, I am also extremely appreciative and grateful.
“While I worked extremely hard for this, I owe my success to so many, many others – every teacher I’ve ever had, my friends in both Oxford and Malaysia, and, of course, my wonderful family,” he said.
Asked for his word of advice to Malaysian youth, Lim said that they should work hard towards their dream.
“Being ‘smart’ can mean so many different things, academic ‘smart’, street ‘smart’, music ‘smart’, the list goes on and on,” he said.
Having developed a love for cooking in university, Lim has enrolled in a three-month, part-time culinary course in London for now.
Come March 2017, he will start working as a strategy consultant in London.