By Allison G12 

On October 15, 2020, the Third Alumni Association meeting at CSW was held. Students could see that the hallway was adorned with the artwork of the seniors before entering the lecture hall. The students’ attention was drawn to these unique works of art, and they stuck around to see the paintings. It was only when the teacher hurried the students into the lecture hall that they slowly entered. Four former senior graduates and two guest speakers were going to share their learning experiences with us and gave us some valuable advice. From time to time, we will inevitably encounter various challenges and changes that we cannot handle by ourselves and their precious suggestions could help us out of our torturous dilemma.  

The first senior that shared her story was Qianqian Chen. She graduated from Washington State University and she is now an accounting instructor at Wenzhou City University. She was very confident and told us that her life was always well-planned. She earned a scholarship under the tutelage of an American senior and became a university professor’s teaching assistant. What she wanted us to know was taking advantage of the opportunities around us at all times and not wasting time. She also provided us with some tips on part-time jobs, and although working in a restaurant or library is popular for the uninitiated, the most valuable part-time experience was actually working as a teaching assistant. 

Caixiao Lin shared her experience with us just afterwards. She is now a cross-media artist and the founder of Toast Creation International Art Education. One of her quotes struck a chord, which is “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Indeed, we should not judge others’ work based on our own thoughts. We can express our feelings, but we cannot impose our feelings on others. 

Xinyu Zhou was the third person to share. He graduated from the University of Sheffield and is now engaged in the architectural design field. He made us aware of the importance of interdisciplinarity. “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” This term means you cannot think outside the box and be imaginative if you only have experience of one particular area of study. He wanted us to explore more possibilities and not be constrained by a single subject. 

Ruoni Huang graduated from Oregon University and her journey was full of twists and turns. Her parents wanted her to study education, so she chose this major at college, but she failed to qualify for the educational major in the following year, so she chose to major in communication and media instead. She actively listened to her teachers a lot, so she gained a lot of opportunities and she got a fantastic job. “Fail harder,” she told us. Life is a long journey and suffering mistakes and losses cannot be prevented. We need to have painful experiences in order to grow and become more courageous. 

Tiantian Liang, another founder of Toast Creation International Art Education, was the next person to share. She used to be a very introverted person, but she was changed by the experience of going abroad. She had made a lot of great work and developed her own style. It was the challenges that encouraged her to be infinitely creative. One of the concepts she shared with us was about “input and output”. She used to think that she could learn by absorbing what she had learned in class, but later she realized that the ability to express her knowledge was more important. 

Zefei Liu is a successful film director, he had the most tortuous experience compared to the previously shared seniors. Owing to his health, he was frequently unable to attend school in his childhood. This also leads to his inability to keep up with his studies. However, he put his talent for drawing to good use and worked harder than his peers. He ended up becoming a very good director. “Step out of your comfort zone and boldly pursue your dreams,” he said at last, which was very inspiring. We were all moved by his touching story. 

After all, veterans are better than recruits. Time is an excellent teacher and guide. Consequently, those who have a longer past and richer real-life experience stand in a more qualified position to offer instructions and express personal evaluations. In most cases, the advice given by them has undergone repeated tests and can be easily put into practice. To conclude, everyone benefited from this event and their suggestions will surely assist us in the future to become better individuals.