From undergraduate in China to postgraduate in England, the sea turtle speaks of the challenges she faced during this transition and how to become a hero in ordinary life.
My postgraduate course in Coventry has been tedious and stressful, which is totally different from my undergraduate life in China. The period for self-adjustment was rather sad and frustrating. It reminds me of a scene where the character keeps twisting the screws on an accelerating assembly line in Charlie Chaplin’s movie “Modern Times”. I was just like a little “screw” on an assembly line without a soul or sense of existence. I am just a consumable which can be replaced. Even if I disappear, nothing will be affected. This realization made me feel lost and anxious.
At the beginning of the first term of postgraduate study, being busy with heavy work from my daily course overwhelmed me. The postgraduate study focuses on fostering students’ self-learning ability. The professor prepares many reading materials for students. Countless reading and difficult terms have tortured me. Without a doubt, time has become the most precious thing for me. More frustratingly, I still cannot fully understand the main content of reading even though I spent a lot of time doing so. Curiously, I can understand every word, but I cannot always understand them when they are put together in a sentence.
Moreover, the professor really loves to apply philosophy topics to the lecture, something I had never learned before. There is a British student named James, who really likes to discuss philosophy with my professor during the class. They often get so deep into discussion that the other students are usually entirely at loss; sometimes we even cannot understand what they are talking about. I used to think that I was knowledgeable. I did not realize I was that superficial until I came to Britain. Facing the philosophical content mentioned by the professor in the lecture, I even lost my ability to think. I decided, if I have a kid in the future, I would like to encourage him/her to study philosophy and take it seriously.
Moreover, my grades did not meet my expectations. I thought I did not make any mistakes and finished my assignment effectively with quality. However, the feedback shows the low grades come from the lack of references. Or in other words, the references are not enough, since I indeed added many references in my essay. But it seems that every argument should be supported by other scholars’ references. That’s really different from my undergraduate study. It actually really confused me. I kept considering that if “academic” means materials collection or simply Google search, copy and paste of other scholars’ opinions with simple citations – why writing my own opinions is wrong? Is that so-called academic freedom? I began to doubt myself and even lose confidence. The most annoying part was that I knew that a mature person should not be affected by these trivial things, but I still was affected and even let these things ruin my mood, which then led to me feeling shame and remorse.
Fortunately, I finally decided to adjust my mentality and attitude and try to conquer with my loneliness and pessimistic thoughts in an academic life. That was the day that I saw the sunset glow outside the window. The scenery sat beneath the sunset glow and tinted red sky was just like a picture. I sat in awe and I was shocked. It suddenly dawned on me that there were many beautiful things existing in my life that I did not notice. Our eyes do not show a lack of beauty, but a lack of observation. To be honest, I had heard these precepts relating to the “missing beauty” many times, but I never really considered that before. I thought that was an important key to adjust my mood. Through this inspired experience, I thought I must lose something. I am studying at a wonderful university which I had a strong desire to enroll with, but I just complained about the heavy work rather than appreciating why it is a good university. As my attitude changed I tried to explore more little but interesting things in daily life and tried to find some joy in my major. I realized that I had to put an end to all the negativity and become a “human” rather than a “screw” on the “assembly line”.
Each period represents the step of my improvement and every experience matters. Ordinary life is not terrible. Compared to a hero with a legendary life, the majority of people in the world are mediocre. The repeated trivial matters are what everyone has to face every day. We miss so much beautiful scenery because we consider too much on gains or loss. We should put our best effort into every trivial matter, look for simple joy and experience the ups and downs of our hard life. Becoming the hero in ordinary life is also an exciting thing. I hope I can do it.