good morning, ladies and gentlemen. at present, my fellow students and i have before us great personal and educational opportunities. at the same time, we are running into a variety of challenges.
today's college education provides us with opportunities for bringing out the creativity and talent that we have within us. this is nurtured both by our learned professors, and by the growing dimension of knowledge sources, such as the world wide web and multimedia sources. our educational experience is being transformed both within and beyond the traditional classroom. however, challenges still exist.
at the end of every semester, students in my university are required to fill out a questionnaire as a review of the previous semester. the questions usually cover a broad range of college life, from curriculum adjustment to canteen service. and almost every time, the questionnaire includes one essential question, that is: as a college student, what are your major challenges? and almost every answer includes two aspects: studying and professional. these two challenges will remain our preoccupations as long as we live in such a competitive world.
a series of challenges in our studies start from almost the beginning of our freshman year. we may wonder whether we've chosen the right major. we may wonder if the extracurricular activities add credits to our studies. we may work our heads off to get a glorious a, because b is already mediocre and c is almost unacceptable. later on we may be competing with our hardworking, intelligent peers, including our best friends to get into an ideal graduate school. all of these sound so familiar and they have somehow made our college education so goal-obsessed that we sometimes fail to fully enjoy our educational experience.
apart from challenges in learning, there are also professional challenges. the competitive world today has also brought about the “knowledge economy,” which requires the effective use of knowledge for economic and social development, and also requires skilled and multi-oriented students with a marketable vocational sense. therefore, sophisticated calculations upon the value of a university degree are being made. graduate employability statistics are being scrutinized. programs like resume writing and interview skills are seen as a must. again as i've said above, when professional concern dominates our college education, we may lose the essence of our educational experience.
indeed, facing these two challenges, how can students manage to be what the employers seek and at the same time to enjoy a valuable, insightful and rewarding educational experience?
for me, the solution to the problem lies in what can be called an “educational synthesis”。 i remember attending a lecture by professor tu weiming, director of harvard yenching institute. in his lecture, professor tu argued that the ideal state of college education is to arrive at a synthesis, a combination of specific knowledge, humanistic insight and sense of social responsibility.
admittedly, there is much to do to bridge the gap between our educational experience in college and the social employment in society. “educational synthesis” can help us narrow the gap. fortunately, today's college education provides us with such a diverse world. from this diverse world we may choose what we want to form our own educational synthesis.
ladies and gentlemen, as charles dickens once commented upon the time of the french revolution, “it was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” and i'm afraid so it is with our time.
i believe, once we achieve our own educational synthesis, we will be able to transform our challenges into opportunities. we will be able to see the best time of our life. and more importantly, we will be able to see the best time of our nation. thank you.