There was a previous post about my graduating two days ago, which by the way I appreciate. Thank you for acknowledging that. What an experience, specifically the undergraduate one. I feel like it's been one insane roller coaster ride, with high and low points to be had. The numerous classes I took, the late nights trying to finish projects, and the wonderful talks I had with friends and professors. I'd like to delve a little into my four years studying at the University of Vermont. I'll rewind to the day I received my acceptance letter in the mail, and the first thought that came to mind. I had been receiving letters, steadily, some saying I wasn't accepted, others giving me scholarships, and a few that created other confusions. However, on this day, I returned from school, and was home alone. I ran to the front door and quickly picked up the mail. I remember seeing the University of Vermont's envelope, and thinking, this must be the "special acceptance" envelope given its size. I carefully opened it, and scanned for the words, "Congratulations" and knew right then and there that I'd been accepted. I couldn't believe it, since over the years I'd been told it was a difficult school to be accepted into, and I was welcomed instead. I wanted to, and always have this drive to let others know, that just because a few people say they couldn't imagine me getting into something like the University of Vermont, that I wanted to say to myself, "Yes, I can, and I did." It's not always easy to let others know in a way that's affective that all the hard work does pay off in the end. It's this idea around having faith in something that's unknown, that scares people, I believe. I may be off, but I think that whenever faith wavers, it's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just what is, is. I think the existence of this experience, shows each and everyone of us, we've potential to do the best we can with what we have at that given moment, and know that in the end we learn. Most importantly whatever we take away from our experiences where ever we may be, will provide growth, inspiration and wonder. That's something I could come away from during my undergraduate experience. Even through moments of discouragement I was forced to say to myself, "I can do it, and I will do it."
Back to the story. I can remember the last few weeks of high school was filled with last minute projects, events to attend, of course graduation. Unfortunately it was held inside because of a late storm that wouldn't cease by the time the program began. I can say that my high school experiences, helped me navigate during my time in college. I'm grateful to the people I interacted with during those years, and even to this day still stay in contact. It's a wonderful feeling to know that even if you've moved on physically from one place to the next, those who take the time to stay in contact still have not forgotten who you are, and were.
In any case, when I received that acceptance letter from the University of Vermont, it was a whirlwind of more invitations to this event and that in the upcoming months. I was certainly looking forward to a change in environment, socially and physically. I didn't know the Burlington area too well, besides the family trips we took to swim at Lake Champlain when I was young. I was anxious to be out in the college world and explore what was beyond the little bubble I was raised in. In the later months, I was invited to join this multicultural group at the University of Vermont, and from that point forward my experiences of the university life was changed, and for good reasons too! I was a bit apprehensive to join, however I realized, with time I'd be able to see members of this group, known as the ALANA Student Center, (Asian, Latino/a, African, Native American) (ASC for short), also including bi/multiracial students/staff etc. as family. I had heard from many that this place was known as the "home away from home." and I very much felt that way. The facility itself was very comfortable, furnished well, a nice kitchen, and even a computer lab, to do work in a quieter environment. The staff was always there to support students, any way that they could. One of the invitations I received shortly after high school ended, to apply to their scholarship program, which allowed First Years to experience one month of "college" courses, have a job, and enjoy it with other selected students. I was very excited to join, however when I was denied, I was a bit disappointed. My family was more so, so we worked hard to make sure I would get into the program, but we still had no luck. In any case, I wasn't fazed too much, because I was also looking at other summer programs, and I was able to find one, through Student Life. It's called TREK, and it's a one week experience either being in their wilderness or volunteer programs. I chose the volunteer program, right in Burlington, and I'm glad I attended, because it allowed me to meet other First Years, before the big day, the first day of college. So much of my experiences through Student Life has allowed me to grow and become a better person. It's been a journey worth taking, that's for sure. Obviously I've so much I want to talk about, so I'll try and stay on track.
Basically all that I'm saying is, my four years at the University of Vermont has given me an abundant amount of valuable lessons I will take with me for the future. I will add more, but probably in another post.....
To jump to four years, onto the day of graduation, I recall the weeks before this, and how anxious I was to graduate from college. Rather, worry that I wouldn't finish the necessary projects, but in the end I got them in one by one, and completed my exams as well. I'm glad I had the people whom I cared for to support me in my years as an undergraduate. I know this is just a chapter of my life that I have to leave, however whenever I've a moment of discouragement I can think back to the good times at the University of Vermont, and say, everything's going to be alright in the end.
I will have many more posts to post, but I think this one will do. By the way, these are my school colors, gold and green in case you're wondering.
For those who are about to graduate, or are going through other transformations in life, and struggling to adjust, don't forget to think back to the good times as a way to provide self care. All the best, and I'll have more posts in the future, for sure.
Much love, Ming
|First Day of TREK (Volunteer program, Summer 2009)|
|Representing China |
|我的中文老师: My Chinese Teacher and I|
I also wanted to add a link from the Commencement Speech, by the famous Jazz musician, Wynton Marsalis who spoke so eloquently. Enjoy and have a great rest of the week, happy summer!