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— Speech at 2019 Orientation Ceremony —

Dean’s Speech at 2019 SSE Orientation Ceremony


Good morning, everyone. Today is a Big Day for SSE as we welcome the 2019 Cohort to this beautiful campus to begin their university life. We celebrate this Big Day with this SSE Orientation!


On behalf of the SSE, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to our distinguished faculties, excellent staff members, and, above all, these newly admitted students – the 2019 Cohort. I would also like to congratulate every freshman on realizing your personal dream – being admitted to The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.


I know that for many of you, pursuing your undergraduate study at CUHK, Shenzhen may be the first big decision you have made in your life. I have to praise that you have made a brilliant decision! From this day on, you are opening a new chapter of your life.


While you are celebrating the start of your university life, I hope you should also realize that university life is completely different from these past years you spent in your elementary school, middle school and high school. Unlike these past years, now you suddenly have many Freedoms in making your own decisions. It is indeed great to have these Freedoms. However, it also poses significant challenges BECAUSE these freedoms come with realistic Accountabilities that will shape your own academic and career destiny. Collectively, your decisions made during your four years at CUHK Shenzhen will determine how well you are doing during your university life and even whether or not you are able to survive your university life. Let me illustrate with a few examples:


  1. 1.  Freedom in course selection and major declaration. Unlike high school, you are now free to choose courses each semester and you are free to declare one of the majors within SSE at the end of first year. Once you have selected those courses, your accountability will be to study hard and complete all the requirements of these courses! The professors will typically spend only three lecturing hours each week while you will need to study at least twice as many hours in order to digest all the contents and complete the assignments. You are now accountable for these after-lecture hours each and every week!

  2. 2.  Freedom in managing long hours outside classroom. Unlike high school days when you spend 10+ hours every day in your classroom, your classroom hours during university are only a small fraction of your daily routine. You are accountable for managing these FREE hours of your university life! One good rule-of-thumb is to spend at least twice as many hours after each class to allow enough time to digest high speed teaching at the University level. DO NOT celebrate your “Free” time with too many non-academic activities! If you choose NOT to study outside the classroom, we will definitely see you struggling with low GPA and, in some cases, you will be ready for academic suspension!

  3. 3.  Freedom in joining extra-curriculum activities. Your Life in CUHK Shenzhen will be a colorful one as we strive to provide “Whole-person” education. Your classroom study will be augmented with College life as well as numerous student-oriented extra-curriculum activities, ranging from dancing club to all kind of sports activities, and ranging from English corner to history and literature clubs. Your accountability in choosing how many clubs to join will definitely impact how much time you would be able to spend your academic study! My suggestion will be to join no more than three student clubs that you are most passionate about their activities.

  4. 4.  Freedom in making friends on campus. During your four-year study at CUHK Shenzhen, you will meet many fellow students on campus and maybe someone off campus. You have the freedom to turn these acquaintances into lifetime friends! However, watch the company you keep! As one who lies with dogs will ride with fleas, the persons you choose to stay with shall influence how you behave and how you achieve your life goals. Your true friend will be a cheerful person who would encourage and help you working towards a better you. Your true friend will never ask you to skip class and to skip assignments. You are truly Accountable for choosing whom to stay closely with during your university life.


Managing such a diverse Freedom during your university life may not be easy. It is the mission of the SSE to help each and every one of you to succeed in the next four years! All faculty and staff members at SEE are here to serve you and to guide you through your academic journey. Your task will be to master a few critical skills and professional knowledge before you embark on your next phase of life journey – either continue to graduate school or start an employment.


Once you are able to successfully balance these freedoms and accountabilities, your university life will be a most rewarding one. By the time you graduate from this great University, I hope every graduate of SSE will have the following lifelong characteristics: (1) Self-Learning Skills, (2) Self-Discipline Attitude, and (3) Self-Development Spirit. I have talked about these in details in last year’s orientation. You can certainly check out SSE’s website for that speech.


In closing, I would like to share with you a famous quotation from Winston Churchill, “I have nothing to offer but blood, boil, tears, and sweat.” The university life will demand every one of you to work not only hard but also wisely. You should never give up before you try your best. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.


Young ladies and gentlemen, SSE’s 2019 Cohort: New journey starts from today. Get ready to embrace the adventure, make unremitting effort and build yourself a great story on this beautiful campus! When you look back four years from now, I hope these will be the best four years of your life to celebrate forever!


Thank you very much and best of luck to each and every one of you!