“Never give up on your dream” might be a cliché but it is what inspires a secondary school student at Beanstalk International Bilingual School, Shunyi (BIBS, Shunyi) in her journey to having a meaningful life.
“What’s your dream?” Mila Li asked the audience of the school’s first-ever TEDxYouth event on May 5. She summarized hers in two words: “Challenge myself.” It sounded big but full of optimism. And much to the awe of the audience, Li shared that she has been to more than 30 countries. “I go out to see a world different from the one we know from books and the Internet,” she said, adding that one of her greatest travels was when she set off for a desert journey alone.
“I walked 25 kilometers for 4 days in a nearby desert,” she said, “But before it, I had asked my mother’s approval. She said, ‘Just go. Keep on trying and challenge yourself.'”
Speaking at TEDxYouth at BIBS, Shunyi was another challenge Li took that definitely paid off. She and three other speakers talked about the theme of “What Should We Spend Our Time On?”
Owen Bai, a high school senior, said he has observed a “toxic youth culture.” “Young people use social media and social networks and try to portray their lives as great … or try to conform with (social fads),” Bai said, adding that when people receive dislikes, they often feel bad.
“But I feel OK despite the dislikes because we need to embrace our uniqueness. Learning to adjust and being happy are your choice. Go and see the beauty [of being unique]and be yourself.”
The TEDxYouth at BIBS, Shunyi also featured four professionals who discussed the topics of “The Effective Path Towards Global Sustainability” and “How to Educate People.”
“The three themes were not simply selected, but created, then refined, then re-created,” said Mike Qian, the main student organizer. “In a nutshell, I selected these three themes because of their global popularity. Education, sustainability, and time-spending are three broad concepts that most people care about, know about, and just might be interested in.”
Teacher co-organizer Shreedhar Mudigonda said the themes revolved around the idea of evoking responses from students. “We took TEDx as an opportunity to motivate [students]to come up with some more novel ideas to educate people. If those thoughts are worth giving a go, we would try to realize it.”
Mudigonda said another TEDxYouth talk at the school is planned for the next school year. “We expect it to be much bigger and better. We have a system in place after the first encounter and that will be of great help in our next episode.”
Photos: Courtesy of BIBS, Shunyi