Know yourself to persist in your dream

Jenny Jiao

2017 Graduate of SUIS Jiaoke Campus

Hi everyone,

My name is Jenny. I graduated from SUIS Jiaoke campus nearly three years ago. Invited by SUIS, I would like to take this opportunity to talk to you about my thoughts after getting into university. Actually, it would be impossible to tell the whole story of this first major transition in my life on just this page. As such, here, I have chosen two key ideas to talk about: “Know Yourself” and “Keep Going”.

Currently, I am a junior at the University of Toronto’s main campus where my specialty is psychology and my major is film studies. From the perspective of a Chinese native, perhaps these do not seem to be standard choices of majors. I assume many of you are wondering how I came to choose this path?

Actually, at SUIS Jiaoke campus, influenced by my classmates and parents, I had put my all into studying business. But when I was studying those courses, I always felt empty inside and felt that it would not lead to the future I wanted. Perhaps many of you are currently suffering from the same confusion. But believe me, you are not the only one feeling lost. Very often, the lack of confidence and confusion about the future is the only way for us to grow.

I remember one night during my first year of university. At my desk in that foreign country, I took a piece of blank paper and a pen and began to write down my favorite things. Five minutes later, when I looked at that piece of paper, I found that there was a pattern in my favorite things. For example, I liked interacting with others, I loved children, watching movies, writing film reviews, photography, and so on. In a flash, I realized that these things had no connection with so-called business or economics. It suddenly dawned on me that I might be suited to a major I had never thought about before.

However, how could it be easy to make a suddenly switch to two majors that I knew not much about? At this point, there might be a lot of external voices discouraging us from taking such a risk. It is also at this time that we need two words that have always been commonplace: keep going. What does it mean to “keep going”? These two words are not just a hollow encouragement but a promise to oneself that you will invest your own time into practicing it.

At the beginning of university, I found the load of course assignments quite heavy, especially in the liberal arts, including psychology and film studies. Although my academic performance had not been poor at SUIS Jiaoke campus, I still remember having great difficulty studying these courses in the beginning and, what’s more, the requirements for admission to the department were very high. For a time, I thought I might be persuaded to give up. But there was always a voice in my head telling me: “This is the path you chose at the beginning. It is the thing you enjoy. This is the major which you need to work hard at for you to have a bright future. Hold on a bit longer! Maybe the breakthrough is just around the corner!” These words may sound a little empty now. But for me, who was helpless and lost at that time, my own encouragement was much more useful than the 10,000 cups of coffee or 10,000 words of well-meaning encouragement from others.

Now, as a junior, I really appreciate that I didn’t give up. Every moment of persistence, no matter how small, will certainly make a difference in the future. Now in the face of graduation, I have my second bout of persistence, that is, that I want to be a teacher in the future. I want to devote myself to education and use my strength to help more people. The future may seem far away, but when we have our feet on the ground and we strive to make every day meaningful, the future is in our hands.

In short, through such a brief sharing, I hope to bring warmth and encouragement to any of you who are confused at any stage. Sometimes, we start with the simplest thing –understanding ourselves and asking ourselves what we really want and enjoy. Many times, the answers will surprise you. With this goal recognized by ourselves, we then have to move forward and remain true to our original aspirations and keep going. Enjoy the process and make each day count.