[Editor's note] As we enter college admissions season, we hope to provide an insider’s account of the College of Engineering. In order to do so, we interviewed current students about their life at Peking University. The series will contain six interviews.
Xiaoguai Li is a junior majoring in engineering structure analysis. Currently vice president of the COE Student Union, Li is the recipient of the Leo Koguan Scholarship of Peking University, PKU Wusi Youth Scholarship and the Undergraduate Practice Opportunity Scholarship.
Q: Why did you choose COE?
A: COE is an institution that well integrates logic-intensified science with practice-emphasized engineering. Despite the short history of its reestablishment, it boasts of many innovative modes, such as the individual mentoring system. It provides abundant opportunities and a broad platform.
Q: What kind of platforms has COE provided for your studies and research?
A: COE provides many opportunities in terms of scientific research. I feel that the cultivation of students is really something that the College cares about. For example, during my term in the Student Union, I have assisted the successful organization of lab visits for a consecutive three years. In this event, the undergraduates have the opportunity to enter a professional laboratory and find out everything about the laboratory work. Many students have found it very helpful in deciding what major and research area they should choose.
In addition, I feel that our College attaches great importance to the student's own research intention and the cultivation of the spirit of exploration. We enjoy a wide range of options when choosing undergraduate research projects, and many teachers offered enormous help.
COE teachers also encourage students to actively participate in a variety of learning and research competition. For example, with supervision from the teachers, students participate in the National Undergraduate Physics Competition every year and achieve excellent results. During my participation in this year's "Challenge Cup" Academic Science and Technology Innovation Contest, I received a lot of help and supervision from teachers in many fields.
Q: Does COE care about the students’ after-school life?
A: COE students not only love to do academics, research and practice, but also enjoy recreational activities and have a colorful after-school life. During my three years of college life, I not only gained knowledge and skills, but also was involved in many extracurricular activities, feeling the joy and warmth this big family has brought me.
The COE Office for Student Affairs did very well in organizing student activities, providing us with many opportunities to exercise our abilities. For example, I successfully organized and moderated the "Afternoon Tea with Dean" activity twice, which benefited many students, during my term in the Student Union, and it wouldn't be possible without the support from Dean Chen and the Student Affairs staff.
In the past three years, I have taken part in many unforgettable events, such as the four-girl relay race, the fun sports games, the New Year party dance, and tours and visits of many historic sites. COE provided us with such a variety of choices that you'll definitely find something that suits you.
Q: How have you grown since you entered Peking University?
A: The three years of university life has brought me so much, which cannot be summarized in a sentence or two. COE has embedded in me critical thinking, excellent logic, hands-on ability, the spirit of exploration, and the ability to care about others. I felt much appreciated and really look forward to the future graduate studies here.
Q: What advice do you have for incoming freshmen about university and major selection?
A: I actually didn't have a clear understanding of my professional development before the college entrance examination. I think many students may also feel somehow puzzled when filing university application forms in respect of majors, the reason for which might be that their experience and knowledge is limited, and [they are] busy preparing for [the] college entrance examination.
I advise students to try to actively learn about the various majors of many different universities, and also have an in-depth understanding of themselves, figuring out the professions they like and what suits them. I believe that the best profession is the one that suits them. I wish the students all the best!