The Where Are They Now blog series looks at the lives of Beijing International School alumni after the last school bell has tolled. 18 year old Chinese/South African Sherry Jiang, was valedictorian of her graduating class at CISB. (You can read her graduation address here). She tells us all about her life post-high school.
Timeline since High School
What have you done since leaving high school?
I moved to New York City, Greenwich Village just around a month ago. Even though my journey just began, it has been amazing so far. I moved in to my residence hall and classes started in the beginning of September.
What are you doing now? What does your day to day routine look like?
I go to New York University now and I’m studying Liberal Studies. I plan to transition into the College of Arts and Sciences to major in Economics and minor in Chemistry and Psychology. My Monday’s are the busiest. I start with a Chemistry lecture at 8:00am and end with a Chemistry Laboratory session from 2:30pm to 6:45pm. I am much more relaxed after Mondays. On Tuesday and Thursday I only have one class, so the rest of the time is dedicated to sleep, food, homework and reading in Washington Square Park.
What led you choose your current path?
People always say how the best four years of your life are spent in university and I thought, “Why not do that in New York? The center of art and culture?” Lately I have been assigned to go to the Metropolitan Museum to examine the Egyptian and Greek section to gain some perspective in order to write a paper. NYU provides me with extraordinary opportunities, not only academically but in other aspects of my life as well.
What do you miss most about high school?
I think what I miss most is how lenient teachers are. If I was sick in high school, all I would need to do is shoot my teacher an email. If I were to get sick in university, I would need to print off a cover sheet from my professor’s website, get a doctor’s signature and deliver it to my professor’s office.
What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
I wish I knew how hard it would get. I wish I knew how to appreciate all the free time I had in high school. I wish I had a more thorough plan. It did not occur to me that I would be leaving high school behind until I set foot in my first lecture.
Advice for Students
What general advice would you give to current high school students?
Enjoy your time and do the best you can. Because when you get to university, the best just isn’t going to be enough.
How can students make the most of their time in high school?
I would say join as many clubs as you can, do volunteer work to connect with your community, explore your interests through different subjects, and play sports! I think students should aim to be well rounded in order to keep their options open. Try to do your best in high school because when you start university, it really feels like a race. If it is a race, then it’s always good to start one step ahead.
What insight would you give to students and parents who are researching career paths and university choices?
The best advice I could give is to make sure you know everything about a certain career path or university or at least try to. Speak to counselors, read newspaper articles, talk to family friends, take tests by distinguished organizations, read online forums, and look at websites. Figure out all the ways you can do something because I can guarantee you may find a quicker or easier path compared to what you originally expected.
Benefits of Your Beijing Roots
How has being an international student in Beijing helped you in your professional and personal life?
Being an international student in Beijing really opens your eyes to a bigger world, a larger community. Each student is an ambassador for his or her home country or the country they grew up in. The responsibility of passing on their knowledge of those countries rests on their shoulders. When you come into contact with all these different types of people, you learn to keep an open mind and to compromise. I think international students can more easily adapt to certain situations.
What influence, if any, has your experience as an international student in Beijing had on your choices and experiences?
When I make my decisions or comments, I tend to have a broader perspective on things. I believe international students have more experiences on a global scale. For example, I’ve had multiple Jewish friends and they have explained to me the different holidays they have and where they originate. Instead of reading all this information from a book, a friend of mine is actually standing in front of me and talking to me. I did not feel the burden of having to learn something but rather I expressed interest in my friend’s lifestyle.
What does the future hold for you?
I see the next four years of my life being spent in New York City. After graduating from New York University, I will most likely work for one to two years and then go to graduate school to complete an MBA. Depending on any decisions I make in the next four years, my future might change. There are just so many opportunities out there. The other day I was walking to one of NYU’s residence hall’s to have the special Sunday Brunch and I walked past a doggy day-care. I love dogs. So I copied down their contact information and thought about what it would feel like to be that man sitting on the floor in the middle of 12 dogs.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself in a little New York apartment. I’ve just finished my day at work and my best friend is already rushing me out the door with a text to meet at Yogurt City for frozen yogurt. Think Friends!
Photos courtesy of Sherry Jiang and CISB