Meet Incoming Freshman of SMU 2024 – Zen Ho 

By the SMU Digital Marketing team 

Mental well-being is paramount for Zen, who envisions a future where mental healthcare prioritises prevention over intervention. “Just as hitting the gym is routine for physical health, one day ‘mind-gyms’ will be the norm,” he muses. While such concepts don’t exist yet, he aims to spearhead this shift.  

To this end, Zen has already founded a mindfulness start-up where he organises and promotes mental wellness initiatives via activities such as Chinese tea appreciation, meditation, nature bathing, ceramic painting and Chinese calligraphy. Zen is also deeply passionate about reading up on philosophy, from metaphysics to the mysteries of the universe. “I’m deeply passionate about Lao Tzu’s Daoism, and have spent hours in the library researching over twenty translations of the Dao De Jing.” 


The biggest draw to SMU

For Zen, the biggest advantage of choosing SMU over other universities lies in the unique interdisciplinary curriculum at the College of Integrative Studies (CIS). The Deferred Declaration of Degree programme allows Zen to explore courses within the CIS Core Curriculum, as well as disciplinary courses from the other SMU schools, before he makes an informed choice of degree programme. He most looks forward to designing his own Individualised Major, delving into independent study courses guided by a CIS faculty advisor to research a niche specialisation aligned with his passions. “At CIS, we’re driven to think big, dream big, and the future is ours to create.” 



The SMU experience

Zen’s passion for philosophy and mindfulness has led him to various courses offered by SMU’s Mindfulness Initiative, such as an eight-week programme taught by mindfulness professionals in SMU earlier this year. As part of the course, he learnt how the human brain works, various breathing exercises and techniques to achieve parasympathetic calm. 


Looking forward to the future

The SMU community, which consists of people from all walks of life, brings with it a richness of different experiences that Zen plans to dive into. “I’m excited to forge meaningful friendships, expand my horizons, unlock new insights and share ideas with the larger SMU family,” he shares. 




Ready for a vibrant student life in the heart of the city? Accept your offer before 24 May 2024!