As I began my sophomore year in the College of Engineering at Cornell, I realized that I wanted to try something new. Throughout freshman year, I dedicated most of time to coursework and joined only a few student organizations, none of which I was very involved in. While this allowed me to keep my GPA afloat, I didn't feel that I was having the full college experience.
Right before the semester started, I interviewed for a part-time student employment position at the Cornell Center for Material Research and was hired. Each week, I dedicated approximately eight hours to work at the office. Although I may not have learned many useful technical skills, I now have a much better appreciation for the amount of work one must put in to make money.
In addition to taking a part-time job, I also decided to join more clubs and become more involved in the student organizations that I'm affiliated with. After attending the club fair, I decided to apply to be a member of AIESEC, the largest international student-run organization that promotes the development of student leadership and offers opportunities to students to be global citizens via international internships. After two rounds of interviewing, I was so excited to join the organization because I really believe in the importance of AIESEC's mission statement -- "Empowering young people for Peace and the Fulfillment of Humankind’s Potential". Now I work as a recruiter/manager of potential exchange participants who are interested in going abroad for technical internships as part of our Global Internship Program.
Some of my friends and I decided to take on leadership roles as returning members of the Chinese Student Association and committed to participate in the big-little program. As a co-head of a CSA family, we meet together on a bi-weekly basis to hangout with our freshmen "littles" to smooth their transition from high school to college.
In terms of academics, this semester has been most challenging. As of last week, I am officially affiliated with the Operations Research Engineering major at Cornell. I also plan on minoring in Computer Science and Business, which gives me the privilege to take a greater variety of courses. For example, next semester, I'm very excited that I will be taking a graduate-level business introductory course at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell! One piece of advice that I'd offer to everyone is to take some classes for yourself! Even though we all have lots of requirements that need to be fulfilled, I realized that I enjoy all of my classes more when there's a balance of courses I must take and ones I take out of leisure. This past semester, that course was the introductory Chinese language class for heritage students. Wile that course demanded a lot of time, I genuinely believe it made me happier, especially since all of my other courses are more geared to math and science.
As I completed my third semester at Cornell, I feel that I've learned so much about myself. Never have I pushed myself to take on a course load so rigorous while committing all of my free time (and often times my sleeping time as well) to clubs and my part time job. While this semester was indubitably the most challenging semester of yet, I still managed to enjoy myself. As I look over my shoulders at my fellow peers, I also see them recruiting for their student organizations, putting in hours here and there to gain work experience, and of course, studying hard. Although this may sound boring and exhausting, the fact is that we choose to be busy and sometimes, even overwhelmed. For the most part, we enjoy to challenge ourselves, but more than that, we seem to understand that doing our best is in our best interest now that we've matured more.
I look forward to yet another exciting semester at Cornell. Best of luck to everyone in the upcoming semester!