Learning @ PolyU

Vote of Thanks at The Most Outstanding PolyU Student Ceremony

Professor Tong, honorable guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon!

It is my greatest honor to be awarded “The Most Outstanding PolyU Student” of this year. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to my parents, friends and teachers who have supported me.

Standing here, I feel so unreal. I could still remember almost four years ago, when I gave a speech as the student representative at the 2008 Non-local Students Orientation Night. At that time, as a freshman full of ambitions for my university life, I had hundreds of dreams about how I would spend my years at PolyU. Now I can assure you that this moment must be the best version that I could ever think of.

Looking back, I feel so fortunate that I have grasped every opportunity presented to me and experienced so much in these four years, having tasted the best bits that the University has to offer.

I was lucky enough to have identified my academic passion right from the beginning: that is, languages and communication. Every subject in the Department of English inspired me in various ways, guiding me to explore the deeper meaning of languages and problematize the communication routines that we had taken granted for in the past.

The best thing about U-life is that I have so much free time to allocate. I always believe that differences are made mostly in how you utilize your free time. That is why I depend a great deal on my schedule book and carefully “design” my timetable. And the “theme” to my schedule is to balance my study with my other activities. When I study, I am able to concentrate on one thing at a time. So I don’t need to devote all my time and energy to my studies. This has granted me numerous opportunities to develop my other interests. In the past three years, I entered two table tennis and badminton tournaments as well as three singing contests. Although it might sound too much like a cliché already, “Work hard, play hard” is really the secret force to my decent GPA.

What I am most grateful for in the four years is my overseas experiences.  I had the chance to work in the US for one summer in 2009 and study in the UK at University of Southampton as an exchange student in 2011. These overseas experiences were the best times and in a way, brightened my university life. In the US, I worked as a cleaner at an amusement park. We had different shifts for each week but I worked at an average of 12 hours a day. Every day after long hours of pure labor work when I returned to my dorm exhausted, I thought to myself: “You probably have already reached the bottom. There is nothing you cannot get through in the future.” This experience taught me to be strong and optimistic when circumstances are not that favorable.

Going on exchange in the UK as a student is a totally different story. Thanks to the long one-month Easter holiday in Britain, I travelled with my two classmates to continental Europe in eight countries. I truly doubt if I would have another wonderful chance like this for the rest of my life. For all the students who are expecting an unforgettable experience abroad, my advice is to fully indulge themselves into the local lives and never be afraid to try new things. You will always be amazed by your potentials and your luck that brings you all the fantastic experiences which go beyond your imagination.

Nevertheless, many of my achievements could not be accomplished without the help of my teammates. The major asset that I have gained at PolyU is the people that I have worked with. I served as the Vice President of English Club in my Year 1and right now I work for the Hall Choir in my final year. Although the two clubs are different in nature, I learned something that is universal: No matter it is a voluntary language teaching trip to Mainland China, or the splendid annual concert we just held in February 2012, Nothing could be achieved without our cooperative work. We cared about each other and were willing to give each other a hand at any time. It was from them that I learnt the spirit of devotion and how to manage a highly-competent crew.

For my career aspiration, I hope to become a professional interpreter on the international scene. I’m also happy to share that I will be studying Conference Interpretation at Monterey Institute of International Studies in the United States after I graduate from PolyU. On my way of chasing my dream, I am grateful to all the people who have supported me and showed me their love. I want to thank my instructors and professors in the Faculty of Humanities, who have guided me with love and wisdom; the administrative staff who have devoted their help and care; and all of my friends who have supported me and inspired me with their unique perspectives. I would especially want to thank my parents, who came all the way from Beijing to give me their support: I am nobody if it weren’t you who told me how to be a nice and mature individual. I love you!

Most of all, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to PolyU, for providing me so many precious opportunities to facilitate my growth and making me a more competitive member of the society.

Thank you!

ZHANG Xinyu, Jennifer
BA(Hons) in English Studies for the Professions
The Most Outstanding PolyU Student 2011