In virtue of wind, rush into the sky
by YANG Xiaoran
Joint Program of Plant Science and Technology, Cohort 2021
Dear teachers and students，
My name is Yang Xiaoran, a junior student majoring in Plant Science and Technology. Firstly, I would like to welcome President Smart and all of the visiting teachers from Missouri State University. Welcome to Chongqing!
I remembered after the college entrance test, I was young and ignorant, when I was facing the decision of choosing the major that I was going to learn for the next 4 years, I thought about a question that I believe everybody have thought of, which was “what do I want to do when I grow up”. That’s when I encountered this major and I thought about the love I had for plants. Now after two years of learning, I believe choosing this major was the best choice I’ve ever made. So today, I would like to share my thoughts from the following aspects:
First of all, our major gives opportunities for self-improvements. Learning in this major requires a foundation of professional knowledge in botany, but also requires us to have strong English proficiency in order to improve our learning and research abilities. I remember attending a summer camp during the past vacation, and we met some professional topics in plant science. When the other students were frustrated about the definition for mitochondria in Chinese, I was very proud of myself, because I’ve already learned this in our classes. This bilingual education gives us a new perspective of seeing the world and understanding science. As we all know, many scientists around the world contribute to the field of plant science. This major can provide us a platform with international perspective and huge benefits to every student.
As the lower grade students in this joint program, we knew from the first graduated students that they had a good education by both of SWU and MSU, as well as an international developing opportunities after obtaining the bachelor degree, such as getting offers from Northwestern University and Peking University. Their outstanding performance made us feel grateful and confident.
In addition to course studying, the tutorial system in this major is also very beneficial. At the beginning of my freshman year, the college assigned academic supervisors to each of us and held a formal meeting. In daily life, our supervisors provided us with psychological counseling, professional guidance, and scientific research training. My friend and I often went to talk to our supervisor for suggestions, and we always chatted for hours. By communicating with them, we realized the enormous potential of plant science. So as we became sophomores, almost everyone in our grade had found their future direction. Many of us also entered the laboratory to conduct scientific research, like doing experiments, analyzing data, and writing papers. And I want to say thank you to the tutorial system for breaking our confusions, avoiding wasting time, and helping us to plan for our futures as soon as possible.
Since we’ve mentioned scientific research, this is also the third aspect that I would like to emphasis. Take my own experience as an example. Since last year, I have been conducting research training at Professor Qu's lab. I’ve learned molecular biology skills such as DNA and RNA extraction, gene cloning, protoplast isolation, and many basic operating methods. I love doing experiments and this developed my interest and also my ability of critical thinking and resource collecting. As far as I know, other students, like me, are also participating in scientific research training, and it was very interesting to chat with the classmates in the same lab either sharing your success or teasing about our own failure.
One of the best things in our major is that our teachers are very nice and helpful to us. They always help us when we have questions. MelissaA used simple and clear drawings to give us an easier understanding of learning ion transportation in plants. And Steven replyed our emails early in the morning explaining every problem we have. They are not only teachers; they are more like friends to us. I remember Kevin giving us lucky bracelets on the Dragon Boat Festival; And Josh participating in English corners, trying to exercise our critical thinking by debating current events. The English corners were so popular that we even need to set an alarm to remind us to get a place. I want to say thank you to teachers from MSU for their dedication, and allowing us to learn with happiness.
Spending time with our teachers and classmates is always full of surprises. We have rich and colorful activities, like attending interesting field trips. We had internships on Jinyun Mountain to identify wild plants. We visited Guangyang Island to experience the enormous role of ecological remediation. I clearly remembered carrying big bags of marked leaves on the mountains, and I bet if there weren’t a bunch of students together with me and learning how to identify plants, someone might even think that I was shopping on the mountains. These activities helped us deepen our understanding of professional courses in our daily lives and allowed us to apply textbook knowledge to practice.
Instead of these field trips, I also enjoyed cooperating with my classmates. During the two years of college life, I have made many good friends through collaborations. We study together. We do experiments together. We also rehearse and perform shows together. What impressed me the most was the English drama performance event. My classmates and I organized a revised performance about Cinderella. And as the wicked stepmother in this performance, even though I was supposed to be evil, I thought this fairytale was rather interesting. We exerted our talents to create together, and in the end, our performance achieved a good result of the first place. My classmates have different talents, and I feel lucky to be able to perform with them.
So under the guidance of the teachers from both SWU and MSU, and with the encouragements from our senior students, I finally had the opportunity to experience the essence of “No Pain No Gain”. This is my third year of studying in this major. When I look back on the past, I feel rewarding; and when I look forward at the future, I feel confident. This joint program precisely combines learning plant science and learning English together. In the future, we can not only study in China, but also enjoy international resources in the United States.
So I would like to thank the joint program for opening the door to exploring plants and showcasing us with a new world. We will continue to work hard, to learn and to enjoy it. Finally, welcome to SWU again, and I hope everyone has a wonderful day.