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— Speech at 2018 Orientation Ceremony —

Dean’s Speech at 2018 SSE Orientation Ceremony


Good morning, everyone! Before I speak to the freshmen, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to Honorable Professor Ariel Warshel, Distinguished University Leaders, Outstanding SSE faculty members, dedicated staff members, and, in particular, the 2018 cohort, another excellent class of new students from all over the world!


First of all, I would like to congratulate every freshman on your superb achievements to be admitted to your dream university – The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. You are now part of this great institution! And you will spend your best four years of youthful life on this campus and your experience will be unforgettable even long after your graduation from CUHKSZ!


You have also made right choice to study in SSE which probably is the best School on campus! SSE has dozens of world class faculty members and dedicated administrative staff to serve you and to accompany you through the next four years. I would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all faculty and staff members at SSE for their superb services to the students!


As this will probably be the first time you live independently away from your parents and family, you will be put to test how well you can manage yourself and your academic life. Since you are embarking on a new journey of life at this university, I would like to offer some advices that may help you live a prolific life for four years and become a proud graduate of this great institution. These advices are: Self-learning Skills, Self-discipline Attitude, and Self-development Spirit. This university has prepared all the environments you need to grow within.


First, Self-Learning Skills. You have just completed the high school curriculum and you are embracing the new level of learning experience. University learning is fundamentally different from your high school learning. In high school, you are given plenty time to study one concept and to do many exercises to enhance your learning. Each day, you have many more class from morning to evening. Most of your learning are guided closely by your teachers and instructors.


At the university level, you have much fewer classes comparing with your high school routines. You will be exposed to large amount of new concepts and new principles even within just one single class. Your professor would expect you to gradually train your own self-learning skills so that you can study after class to enhance the learning experience on YOUR OWN! It is time to change your learning style and to train self-learning skills!  This is particular necessary in this Artificial Intelligence and Big Data era in which every field of study will see a rapid change over a short period of time. With self-learning skills, you will be able to comfortably weather the changes in respond to the scientific and technological advances driven by the knowledge we have already learned.


Second, Self-Discipline Attitude. Now that you can live independently on campus, away from the constant reminders of your loving parents and without the strict daily routines that are filled with teaching classes and exercise sessions during your high school years. You are essentially free in managing plenty of times outside the classroom! Now, how to “kill” all these “leisure times” has become the determining factor on whether or not you will be successful during your university years. Self-discipline will be the key to managing your “free” time. Unfortunately, lack of self-discipline has ruined several CUHKSZ students’ academic life. Some are even forced to leave university because of their failure in passing the courses.


Self-discipline means you will need to learn to stop doing things, for example video games, that will overwhelmingly and meaninglessly consume your time each day that leaves no time to complete your homework, or significantly reduce your sleep time at night that makes you sleepy during your class. Self-discipline means that you will spend adequate time studying and completing your homework so that you will be ready and well prepared going into next class. Self-discipline also means that you have plenty time to enjoy so many extra-curriculum activities the School and the Colleges have prepared for you to help you grow into a well-rounded person who are ready to tackle various challenges in your future life, be it a professional one or a personal one.  Self-discipline also means that you will become a prolific contributor to the society and a model citizen who serve for those who are not as lucky as you are to receive such a world-class education at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.


Third, Self-Development Spirit. Your four-year study at this university is the most precious period of your life that will shape your young mind into a mature one, influence your views towards the world around you, and set the tune for a successful, prolific and satisfying life. The Schools and Colleges shall offer various interesting lectures taught by experienced teachers, plenty master forums talked by world-renowned scientists and scholars, abundant college and extracurricular activities to reverberate your talents outside your classroom. Besides being an SSE student, you may also become a popular singer, a skilled photographer, a beautiful dancer, or a well-rounded public speaker. Or, you may become a winner of extracurricular competitions at the national or international level.


Many of your fellow students who entered this university before you have already taken advantage of rich extracurricular life beyond classroom and have developed into a multitalented student. You know better than anyone else what talents you have in addition to being an outstanding student. On this campus, you will be able to maximize your talent and define your own destiny to become an all-around person. We have set up the environments and all you need will be to just jump out of your comfort zone and participate!


Once you have mastered these three great abilities, i.e., Self-learning Skill, Self-discipline Attitude and Self-development Spirit, your university life will definitely be smooth and your path to success will lead you readily to your next level of excellence. Keep your passion on your dreams! Follow your heart! CUHKSZ SSE will be the starting point for you to become an outstanding scientist or engineer who will change this world for a better tomorrow.


Confucius, who is probably the greatest educator in China, has once said: “Those who like it are better than those who just know it, and those who love it are better than those who just like it” (知之者不如好之者,好之者不如乐之者)1. “Do what you love and love what do” are two simple rules for a happy life.  Your passion for knowledge, your passion for excellence, and your passion for perfection will take to wherever you dare to dream!


So, what can anyone achieve in four years? Imagine this: An Olympic champion can be created in every four years, a World Cup winning team can be crafted in every four years, and of course an outstanding graduate of CUHKSZ, YOU, can also be produced in four years at this very campus!


My fellow faculty and staff members are here to work with everyone of you to achieve your own dreams. I wish each and every one of you the best of luck in your exciting journey towards the celebration party for your graduation in four years.


Thank you very much!


1. From The Analects of Confucius