What Really Leads to Success

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“We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth. We look at the young Bill Gates and marvel that our world allowed that thirteen-year-old…

Getting Ready For Thanksgiving

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Airbnb booked, bus tickets ready, suitcase halfway packed. A Nina Simone record was playing in the background as I looked around my bedroom for travel essentials. After checking next week’s weather in NYC, I added an umbrella to my luggage….

Sophomore Slump

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My life seems to get messier as I enter my sophomore year in college—more challenging courses, more responsibilities in student clubs, time to make choices about majors, and most importantly, losing the privilege of being a freshman. In my first…

What Can’t I Do?

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When I first got my student visa to come to America for high school, I felt like I’d just landed on the moon! I felt victorious, invincible, on top of the world! Didn’t you feel that way too when you…

A book review on The Wild, Wild East by Barbara Pollack

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In an interview with PBS, American art critic Barbara Pollack called it “unimaginable” the level at which the most well-known contemporary Chinese artists live. She stressed that even the richest artists in the West don’t live the way the Chinese…

How To Spend $10 Million?

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Three weeks ago, the Chinese billionaire couple, Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, donated $10 million to Yale for undergraduate scholarship. I wrote an op-ed for the Yale Daily News, arguing that while their intention might be good, the money should…

Reflecting on How Far I’ve Come

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Thanksgiving is always a time for me to reflect. Sifting through my last year, I realize how lucky I am to receive so much help and love, and to have such rich experiences. I am most grateful about having learned…

Loss and Found

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“How old are you?” 9 year-old Selina asked me in a sweet soft voice one day while we were waiting for the subway in Chinatown. “I’m your “Big”, so I’m older than you!” She chuckled, and I was relieved. I…

Why I Spoke Up In Defense of Mark Zuckerberg?

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Three weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg posted a 30-minute video of his discussion with students and faculty of Tsinghua University  School of Economics and Management in Beijing. The video has reverberated around the halls of the Internet because Zuckerberg did the…

Language is Power

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Before going to college in America, I lived in Beijing for over 10 years. Though originally from Hainan and Chongqing, I spoke “authentic” Mandarin naturally and fluently as everyone else did in school. Inside my heart, I was so proud…

Choosing a College

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Everytime I see young high school students clustering in front of the John Harvard statue, touching his sacred foot and taking pictures, I experience a slight envy. If only I had the chance to actually visit some universities before applying…

Who Let You In?

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We all want to be “in” rather than “out” – in touch, in vogue, invited, included. The idea or perception that we are out of touch, out of style, left out or squeezed out makes us uneasy. Why is that?…