Learning to Change

Story by

Yin Gao

From

China

Major/Field

Medicine

Level

Undergraduate

Learning to change and adapt to a new environment has been very important to me.

When I was a little girl, I was afraid of changing. As a child, my life lacked change because my grandma raised me until I was four years old. As well known, elders seek of stability and peace. So when my parents wanted to pick me home, I was so frightened of the new life because I had already gotten used to live under my grandma’s protection.

However, as I grew up, I learned to accept differences, surprises and challenges. Due to various reasons, I transferred to four schools when I was in primary school. As I constantly moved, I had to connect with strange people and faced changes everyday. This unique experience in primary school gave me the ability to face changes, adapt to new environments, and quickly change. Now, I am using my ability to adapt in order to make the biggest move in my life so far, which is coming to a university in the US.

When I was new here in the US, there were so many challenges. The biggest challenge was that it was the first time for me to choose the classes and arrange my own schedule. I thought it was an important and necessary opportunity to think about what I want to be in the future. To be honest, I had no idea about my future because I was used to learning whatever my teachers taught me without asking “why” I should learn in China. It was now the time for me to change my old learning style. I got support from others when I needed, but I started making my own career decisions. For instance, even though my English was not fluent, I met with the college advisor and after a long discussion, I decided my major preliminarily. After I went back home, I did some research online on the career prospects of my major. Finally, I ensured my major and the first semester schedule. Now, I am studying hard for my future career and I am happy about it.

Being able to change and getting along with new people and environment helps me to be a better student in the US. As a Chinese student, I used to be nervous with my teachers because teachers treated students like parents did. I was afraid of talking with them, even asking academic questions. However, when I came to the US, professors treated me like friends. When I asked questions, they never questioned whether I pay enough attention in the class. Instead, they answered my questions patiently and encouraged me to ask more. I made friends with my chemistry tutor. He not only helped me with my study, but also helped me in my life. In study, he shared with me his learning experiences to help me to understand the knowledge. In life, he showed me American culture. He also encouraged me to talk more with him for practicing my spoken English. Now, I am teaching him Mandarin and helping him to apply for an opportunity in China. We are making progress together.

Change is necessary for fitting into the new leaning environment. The learning environment in American school is really different from Chinese school. American students like discussing ideas with others; however, Chinese students prefer to study alone. Last semester, I took a college class about leadership. When professors gave time to discuss with the classmate, I ignored him and started the project on my own. When I handed in my project, I was a little complacent because the topic was so easy for me. However, my professor did not give me a good grade. He indicated that my idea was old, personal and without creativity. He suggested me to be one of the class, not to be the only one in the class. I took his advice and changed my working style. I really got the inspiration from the discussion and understood the project better. After that, I got better grade. At the meantime, I learnt to change my unbefitting studying style in a different learning environment.

Change also helps me to get through some challenges which beyond the academic life. When I moved in my on-campus dorm, my roommate was a very nice American girl. She always started a new chat with me; however, I only replied a few word to her. Little by little, she thought I was not a friendly person. Then, she seldom talked with me and never asked me to go shopping with her again. Actually, I would like to talk with her; however, the truth was I was a shy girl and it became hard for me to make friends. I knew if I did not change my personality, I would be a pathetic person who had no friends in the entire college life. I regained the courage that I used to have in my primary school to help me change. I encouraged myself to talk to my roommate first, and explained the reason I did not talk a lot with her. Fortunately, she understood my problem. After that, she always invited me to her family and introduced her friends to me. Gradually, I made lots of friends and we helped each other in both life and study. Now, my personality has totally changed. Change makes me to be more easy-going and friendly.

No matter whether it is in China or in the US, no matter if it is in primary school or in college, I believe learning to change is a useful ability. Gaining an ability needs to be practiced again and again. All the challenges I faced in school provided me a wonderful strength that I can be calm when I face changes.

After I came to the US, all the changes I faced gave me a chance to practice this useful ability. Learning to change gives me strength to be able to handle different relationships correctly, solve different problems independently and adapt to a new environment quickly.

Now, I am not the little girl who wanted to live under grandma’s protection any more. I am eager for changes now because changes help me to develop emotionally, socially, and intellectually. Thanks to all the changes I faced before, I continue to make progress in my academic career.

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One Comment

  1. What a beautiful article. I can relate to this story too. I think this is generally a case in most of Asia, “I used to be nervous with my teachers because teachers treated students like parents did”.

    I can imagine the emotions that you were filled with when you realized you HAD the choice in selecting classes since we were always told to do since childhood either by parents or teachers without questioning them and this change in culture when pursuing US education can be termed as ‘culture shock’

    Great Read !

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