A Letter to My 21-year-old Self

taken on 16, January 2019

Dear 21-year old me,

Don’t be panic. I am the future you in 2019. I know you have a tough time currently. Hence, I write this letter to see you through. You are in junior year of an undesirable university in Wuhan city of central China. After three-year staying, you know everything around. Everything is hateful and hopeless. The unprofessional instructors of your favorite department, journalism, cannot guide you in academic and career sufficiently. The facilities and resources within campus are always scarce. The maddest thing is that you never have a chance to enter library due to the ongoing decoration. And classmates from other parts of China, who have little in common with you. I know, you from the south, left home alone and feel lonely in a way.

However, I also understand you are not lonely. To overcome scarcities of library resources, you have borrowed books from a provincial library and bought books online. Especially, you shift the traditional way of reading to digital one. I still remember your smile after you finished reading one book. Another delightful moment is you often share your feeling and thoughts about books with boyfriend who stays at hometown to pursue bachelor’s degree. Nevertheless, you cannot help sobbing on the phone when you mention the campus life at times.

If I tell you a secret that you soon will have an unexpected opportunity to get rid of these hateful things and come to a place you had anticipated, can you promise to keep strong and stay the course? Indeed, I know you can. You never give up. As well, I encourage you that it is your passion that leads to a bright future. Amid the astonishing sufferings, you gradually realize what you want. Otherwise, you won’t get the offer of a master program of a well-known university of Taiwan. Do you know what? One of referees who write recommendation letters for you is the professor you admire a lot and have asked questions by email before. This professor never taught you but read your personal magazine which would cost your three years and was designed by you since 2010. Please believe me, you will deserve better.

I am sure you must be very curious about your new life in Taipei, a totally different place. But what’s more, it is your efforts there. The journey to academic is long and good things never come easy. At the beginning, you were far too immersed in Taiwan’s vibrant civil society. All information and knowledge were new to you. Whenever, you stay hungry and stay foolish. You attended hundreds of workshops, lectures, and research camps on political science even though your program was library and information science. You met a variety of people around the world. Many of them become your Facebook friends, some become your real friends, and several fell in love with you. In addition, the most memorable experience was one single travel in Malaysia. You designed road maps and visiting sites. This travel triggers the forthcoming single travels.

However, the similar sufferings appear. In Taiwan, you were discriminated in policies and law because of your nationality which you are born with. The rigorous constraints on scholarships and work made you have a strong sense that Taiwan was not your place. Besides, the program of political science was your favorite which has been applied for but failed. Naturally, the more days in Taiwan, the more anxieties about future.

Therefore, another bummer came out. In order to leave Taiwan, you tried three unsuccessful applications. Each failure would be a severe strike. During the period, you started to doubt yourself and kept frustrated. But you did not give up. One proof was your outstanding performance on transcript. You knew what you want and headed to the goal. The last application occurred in winter, you were in Kaohsiung, a southern port of Taiwan. Two referees you met in Taipei helped you out.

Eventually, your dream came true. You arrived at your favorite country where academic freedom and equality are guaranteed. As you could imagine, you had a great time in Victoria. On the one hand, you study your favorite subject. On the other hand, you discover plenty of possibilities. You are a long-term volunteer at a care center where old immigrants share their stories with you; you are also a fellow of a lab which supports your research.

Finally, I realize I disclose too much on your life even though I understate the details. What I want to say is that your present depends on your past but shapes your future. Everyone has dark days, but his/her goal is the light source. As long as the light never vanishes, you will find the road. The tough days won’t be last long. But remember not to forget your passion and goal. Success may be late but never absent.

Currently, another turning point is coming. The PhD program in Canada is my next goal. I still believe the old me, accurately, the 21-year-old me is there. You stand for the past to remind my passion and shortage. Based on your footprint, I manage the present and create a desirable future.

Thank you for reading.


28-year old me