Grasp the “Uncertainty” of life and Realize “Inevitability” from “Accidents”

She has many titles: Student Ambassador, Student Board Member, Outstanding Student Leader……

She organized or participated in many activities: the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference, Dinner with the Chancellor, Color Run, reading sharing session……

What matters, she said, is not the title or the experience, but how these experiences shaped her and made her who she is.

My need is “uncertainty”

It is said that this year’s graduates are the most miserable in history. Affected by the pandemic, Pan Xiaoyun, who holds offers from several foreign universities, is still waiting to see whether she can go abroad for further study. However, she turns passive into active. Majoring in English and minoring in psychology, she is already actively looking for internships related to her majors.

Speaking of why minoring in psychology, Pan told reporters that this was purely an “accident”. In her junior year, she chose a psychology course in the humanities elective courses provided by the university. At that time, she just thought this subject was interesting. Raquel Stuart, Acting Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, who teaches this course. She once told the students of the college to “broaden their horizons and expand their thinking”.

Raquel guides students to explore what their basic needs are, which is a question Pan has never seriously considered. Pan said that in Raquel’s class, she has a deeper understanding of herself. She realizes that “uncertainty” is her fundamental need, and she needs multiple options, not a stagnant life. The knowledge learned in the classroom is not limited to the classroom. Since then, when she makes decisions and analyzes problems, she will consider the need of “uncertainty”. Therefore, she has been actively trying what she has not tried and experiencing what she has not experienced.

“Inevitability” promoted by various “Accidents”

Pan served as a member of the editorial team of the first student journal, ECHO-ENG, from 2018 to 2019, and successfully contributed to publish two issues of the journal. She said that she never had the experience of running journals before, and the birth of ECHO-ENG was also an “inevitability” promoted by various “accidents”.

“Accidents” originated from a translation course she took. Part of the course assignment is to translate the selected chapters in Tanghe Chronicle. The English translations by the students provided supplementary materials for the research project of Wen-Rui Tang River Revitalization Assessment Project by Dr. Toby Michelena of the College of Science and Technology. Chapter after chapter, in the accumulation of their assignments, they had the idea of translating the entire book into the English version of “Tanghe Chronicle”.

Students immediately took action with this idea. Pan and her classmates formed a 9-person translation team to work together, and was supervised by Gary Linebarger, the head of the English Department of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Now the team’s diligent translation work is still in progress, which is a very time-consuming and meticulous work. Before deciding to translate and publish, the students in the group also exchanged ideas with other teachers in the English department. Professor Gina Roach said that the scope of the published works could be expanded. This proposal also gave Pan and her classmates an inspiration: since the little achievements accumulated in the daily assignments can be published, why not put the English articles written by the students into a volume? In this way, the research reports, poems and short stories written by the students are collected into the Department Journal ECHO-ENG.

Witness and wait for changes to happen

In December 2018, Pan participated in the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference as an NGO observer, and participated in the press conference of her NGO as a Chinese youth representative. She said frankly that she had a longing for becoming a youth representative because she was influenced by her classmates and the seniors’ participation in the international conferences.

In her view, participating in the international conferences is a good opportunity to broaden horizons and explore more possibilities of life. In addition, WKU’s full English and small-class teaching environment trained her spoken English. “WKU is my lucky choice.” Pan said. At the conference, she can express her opinions confidently and fluently. From applying to become an NGO observer to becoming a youth representative, from the original intention of going abroad to Poland to take a look, to seeing “what someone is really doing to make changes happen”, and taking the climate change conference as an opportunity for communication, in this process, she learned to process and deliver information as a world citizen.

Grasp the “uncertainty” of life

Pan Xiaoyun is very outstanding in student work, and is also excellent in academic research. In October 2018, she published articles in academic conferences and corresponding journals (JAHSS). When asked how to balance study and busy student work, she replied: “These (student work) tasks are not given to you temporarily. When I choose to do student work, I have planned how to balance study and work for a long time, I am ready in my heart.” This answer is also applicable to the question “Where is the future?” For Pan, she knows how to handle changes in the future properly, clarify the source of these changes, and is ready to change at any time, to accept challenges.