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It has been a bittersweet semester with so many things happening out of control in an unexpected way.
Always, the frequency that I update my blog to some extent could represent my mood during a specific period of time. For example, during last year at this time, I was stressed out with tons of college applications happening on. Apparently, I got into the same situation again with hundreds of internship applications to send out, wait, and be rejected. Apart from that, the classes I took this semester has played a huge role in a huge shift of my value, political understandings and my world view, which might have already changed my life entirely.
I wouldn’t say it was a better nor worse semester compared to my freshman year. Objectively, I participated in fewer events, clubs and socials while subjectively speaking I learned and grew more internally.
I could not really have a comprehensive rewind of my entire semester yet there are always something I would never forget and pop up instantly while I am writing this.
Since I pledged last Spring at APO with a super random motivation that a Duke alum recommended me to try it out, I have been much more involved and interested in the organization as I thought I would be. I wouldn’t say it is the most important or valuable experience I have, but somehow it leaves to the end after I quitted so many clubs. I simply enjoy being here and doing volunteering works with other Duke students. It might because partially I would like to repay my “guilt” that I had not participated enough services back in high school.
The most unforgettable service event I had this semester was a baseball game for children with special needs. As the Service Chair, it was the first event that I coordinated individually without the help from the Service VP. I was worried about nobody would show up to the event while it turned out to be around 10 people with me bugging everyone within the organization. I was really excited to see so many people coming to the event I coordinated, and most importantly brought happiness to those lovely children.
In the end of the semester, I was elected to be the Service VP, which means it is time for me to take all the responsibilities of coordinating all kinds of service events. It is a time-consuming works but at the same time it is a well-rewarding job. One of the main side work I have for this winter break is to sort out everything for next semester before it begins. And frankly, I am ready and take it seriously to make sure everything is going to work smoothly in the next semester.
Well, it is tough. I have nothing to say but frustrations. I considered myself well-prepared in the very beginning of the semester and applied countless jobs with such confidence that I would stand out from other candidates. However, things always happen differently. I began to be stressed out, seeing people around me getting so many awesome job opportunities. It reminds me of the last year when I applied for colleges. They gave me the same level of mental burdens and physical fatigues.
Anyway, my expectation began to shift. Still, I have the backup plan to work for the OIT office on FixIt for the next summer or to go to the bootcamp and study abroad opportunity in Cape Town which many people consider as a scam while I believe it is the best fit for me as I love traveling and see different things all across the world.
Another main task for the winter is be more prepared and apply more companies, which I will try my best and hope for the best for.
My world view shifted
I have so much to say regarding this. In the classic sci-fi movie The Matrix, the protagonist was asked to choose between the blue pill (Reality) and the red one (Conceived world). I was facing the same choice this semester and I chose the blue pill by accident which was extremely painful and disturbing for me to confront with all the cruel truth.
It all starts with the trip to Ashvile. I was debating with my friends about the party. I believed in my country and the party to bring the best for the people even given so many disrupted misinformation from the western media. However, I could not rebuttal almost every of his arguments.
Then, in two humanity classes that I took: Migrant China and Comparative Approach to Global Issues, I learned about the concept of “imagined community” and directly see the life of Chinese migrant workers from the bottom working class through the lens of documentary and so many academic literatures. I was more and more astonished and shocked with more lectures going on. Moreover, as the social movement happening in China, everything add together significantly complicated my views on myself, my country and the world.
I couldn’t say much or do much about this for now but I do understand one lesson: China is not a superior country compared to US or any countries in the world. Rather, they are inheritly equally problematic.
A more tangible change for myself is I suddenly realized the significance of liberal arts education and decided to pursue a BA (currently considering political science) besides BS in computer science. Since I do believe science teaches me modern techniques and equips me with powerful knowledge that gives me more and more confidence while learning deeper. On the other hand, social sciences and humanities teaches me all the hard truth and evil appearance. It forces me to take the blue pill and let me confront with everything. I could not escape. I became destablized but a much broader understanding of the world, the real world. This is something I really want to do in my college years even it is hard, and might be useless since it wouldn’t help me in any utilitarian point of view. In a nutshell, I want to be knowledgeable rather than ignorant although ignorance is such a great blessing which rules my life for 19 years.
This is my first semester after becoming a Christian. To many extents, I feel more connected with God and my sins. God is showing everything to me at the right moment while letting me to digest and reflect on. I feel extremely grateful and warm with makenew friends all around me. I started to understand the meaning of the church and how kind, selfless, powerful, loving, holy Jesus is. I know God is going to give me more and I will take all to repent. Life is not simply about being a good man. Rather, it is about acknowledging my earthly limitations and striving for the heavenly fruits.
I just realized how much I love hiking. I planned out my first ever entire hiking trip to Shenandoah National Park and drove 700 miles within 3 days. Nature empowers me so much that I can’t help exploring it as much as I can.
For the spring semester, I am going to the Mighty 5 National Parks in Utah plus Great Canyon NP with so much excitement in my heart. Also, I found one of my goal of life: finishing the 2k miles Appalachian Trails.