Qihan Ren: Knowing what you want makes you fearless of challenges
Self-portrait: Student major in Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Michigan – Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute. Once studied in Ningbo Xiaoshi High School. Winner of the National Scholarship for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Unwittingly, I have spent more than one year in the Joint Institute. With this experience, I’m pretty sure that it has been a right choice to study at JI. The free and international atmosphere at JI presents me endless possibilities in the future. Besides, all kinds of opportunities and challenges have made me more independent and tough.
Plan ahead — Never fight unprepared battles
In the summer of 2018, after short elation of being admitted by the Joint Insitute, I felt more confused and worried about the unknown campus life. An imminent challenge was the all-English teaching style at JI. My sense told me that the summer vacation after Gaokao should not be wasted. Therefore, I signed up for a TOEFL class, which I thought would not only improve my English skills, but also save me time of TOEFL learning in the future. The TOEFL class had a tight schedule and very heavy workload. Every day, I just switched between taking classes, practicing problem sets and remembering words. Sometimes I had to stay up until midnight just to finish my daily homework. Once in a while, when I saw my high school classmates sharing their travel photos in Moments, I would be a little envious and regretful. But it turned out that my effort was not useless. It only took me more than a week to get used to the pace of all-English teaching. Also, while many students were still struggling for TOEFL, I already got an ideal score.
Over the last year, in addition to TOEFL preparation, my participation in the Student Science, Technology and Innovation Association (SSTIA) and the Student Union, and my enrollment in the Winter Program were also planned ahead. “Knowing what to do” is seemingly simple, but it is not. I hope I can have a clearer plan for my future and achieve my goals step by step.
Down to earth — GPA is a bonus, not a goal
Look far into the world — Experience the cultural collision in the Winter Program
When I was in high school, I went to Aachen, the sister city of my hometown Ningbo, for study tours. Germany left me a great impression during my short stay. Therefore, when I knew there was a winter program at Technische Universitaet Berlin (TUB), I signed up without thinking twice. The courses arranged by TUB were in small class teaching. Compared with classes at home, the atmosphere in TUB was more active, with various classroom activities. Interestingly, we were taught German by German itself, and we had to understand the meaning through gestures at the beginning, which really challenged us.
There is still a long way to go in life, and we are bound to face various uncertainties and challenges in study, work and life. But I firmly believe that as long as we keep planning ahead, keep down-to-earth and look far into the world, our future will be full of opportunities and fruitful.