Beyond The Classroom
Meet Eric Zhou, one of CGA's exceptional students, who proudly secured a High Distinction at the renowned John Locke Awards — an event that unfolded in the historic Sheldonian Theatre, a venue nearly 400 years old. In this interview, Eric shares his unique experience, insights, and inspiring moments from this prestigious event.
The John Locke Awards Ceremony was nothing short of extraordinary. As Eric recalls, "Watching the influx of shortlisted students and parents enter the impressive building, and then entering it myself, to then choosing and waiting in a seat was an incredibly unique and unforgettable experience."
The lectures presented during the event left an indelible mark on Eric's mind. For the Economics category, students were treated to a series of enlightening lectures, one including a lecture from Director of the John Locke Institute and Economist Martin Cox on the analysis of sweatshops and the economic lessons that can be learned from them.
These lectures provided a glimpse into the academic rigour of Oxford University, where insights were shared on different essay topics. Eric reflects, "The combination of these lectures gave students a perspective of what the lectures at Oxford University feel like, as well as the personal tutoring sessions such as our introductory lectures that follow Oxford's collegiate system."
Eric's award-winning essay, titled "What Would Happen if We Banned Billionaires," ventured into the intricate dynamics of economics. Beyond the surface of this seemingly simple question, he explored multiple layers of economics, including economic history, politics, philosophy, and legislation. His structured approach, complete with thoughtful subtitles, enabled a comprehensive analysis. As Eric puts it, "I believed that this approach allowed me to construct a holistic and comprehensive analysis of the issue, and create an essay that I was extremely proud of."
Being tied for 4th place among High Distinction recipients was an achievement in itself. With over 19,000 participants worldwide, the competition was fierce, but Eric found more camaraderie than competition among his fellow achievers.
In his words, "Sharing the achievement of High Distinction brought upon a sense of relief and pride." As he was a lot younger than most the other recipients, he was able to learn from them, “ learning the pathway they have taken, and the amazing accomplishments that they have achieved makes me want to push myself even further to reach my dream.”
While discussions naturally gravitated towards academics, there were moments of personal connection beyond the books. Conversations spanned topics like personal motivations, backgrounds, and aspirations for the future. Laughter filled the air as they shared entertaining high school stories.
In addition to the discussions with his peers, Eric was able to have an insightful conversation with Mr Casas, an Economics PHD student who previously presented a lecture on "What Would Happen if We Banned Billionaires?” where he got to ask about life at Oxford, finding and pursuing your passions, employability and internships.
Among his fantastic achievement at the John Locke Awards, Eric also recently had the privilege of sitting down with CGA’s Co-Founder, Jamie Beaton for an inspiring interview.
From being named in the Forbes 30 under 30, and now a successful Author, Jamie shared many unique insights into his own high-school life, his book, and his company.
To hear more of this interview and information on his new book ‘Accepted!’ which compiles some the best advice on the daunting college admissions process, watch the full video below.