December 13, 2016 | KL Community

Change of Place: From Apathy to Enthusiasm – My Experience at St. Mary’s Wuhan

Change of Place: From Apathy to Enthusiasm – My Experience at St. Mary’s Wuhan

Frida is an 11th grade student on our Wuhan campus. She is the class president, chief editor of the school newspaper and yearbook, and the lead organizer of the movie club. After moving from a traditional Chinese education to St. Mary’s, Frida found her voice and wants to share her experience with readers. Find out more about Frida’s life in Wuhan.

I’m a school president, a chief editor of school newspaper and yearbook, and an organizer of a movie club. Who would know that I was so apathetic on my own life before I got into high school? Actually even choosing St. Mary’s was a whatever choice for me, something I did not think much about. I had never thought that this school would change my apathy to enthusiasm in life, study and thinking.

My only expectation, when I first became part of this school, was to finish high school in a regular Chinese way. However, guided by understanding teachers, inspired by the free academic atmosphere in school, accompanied by encouraging classmates, I learned how to think critically, how to balance my own hobbies and academic works, and how important participating in the community is.

I clearly remember my experience in traditional Chinese primary and middle school. I was hushed when I gave suggestions. I was taunted when I asked “stupid” questions. I was ashamed when grades were posted on the wall. In a nutshell, I couldn’t find my place.

Life completely changed after I came to St. Mary’s. All my teachers are very patient with our questions, care about our privacy, give us suggestions, and treat us like our friends. Mr. Steve, my ESL teacher, urge us to express our thoughts and suggestions with respect and affirmation to them. He sets discussions instead of theories because thinking process is more important in his eyes. He taught us how to study, which I think is more important than the knowledge itself.

There are a bunch of activities and clubs in our school. Here, I have the opportunity to organize these things. This makes me feel like I’m in a school with spirit, but not a place where I go to just for study. Our school also requires 25 hours of community service each year. This gives me a chance to take part in my community, which I have never done before. I clearly realize how I’m related to the society and how I’m not an individual, but a citizen. Not only am I enthusiastic about my own life now, but also I’m into helping others in my community. Both community service and school activities give me a strong sense of responsibility and wholeness. This is the value I see in a St. Mary’s education.

With great opportunities in St. Mary’s, my increasing participation in activities, community service and leadership position, and pressure from applying a promising university, I gradually learned a lot, from time arrangement, to self-study, to leadership. I learned those from all-nighters before due dates, from forgetting things I learned during the exam, from embarrassment in meetings. All of my experience, opportunities and lessons I learned here allowed me to stand out at this level.

Through that experience, I have some tips to share, whether you are in school or at work.

1. Time Management: Have a little notebook that you can bring with you everywhere. Write the things that you plan for one day on a page. Finish all of your plans for this day. Do not ever delay them to tomorrow!

2. Planning: Write your weekly and monthly plans on the first page including due dates of your projects and days for exams.

3. Life Long Learning: Review what you learn every day. You can just recall what you talked about in class before you went to sleep. Build a knowledge map after finishing every chapter in every subject. Then when the finals are coming, you can build up a knowledge system for every subject.

4. Leadership: Always listen to others’ opinions. You make a decision based on everyone’s suggestions.

5. Delegation: Leaders’ work is to arrange work to others and check their results rather than doing everything themselves.

In a proverbial nutshell, St. Mary’s profoundly influences my way of living, studying and thinking. Without free and optimistic atmosphere here, it’s impossible for me to learn critical thinking and taking responsibility for the society in high school. Without great opportunities here, I have no means to learn to arrange time properly, to self-study efficiently, and to organize a great team. Studying and living in such an amazing campus, I believe that I can get an offer from my dream college; that I can practice my ability of leading and learning, that I can reward my community in the future. I’ll manage to those goals with the support from teachers and companion from classmates.