Haiping_Niu

Participation in the project: Assistant Project Manger (Internship), Interviewer, Researcher, and AV editor

Occupation: Mandarin Teacher

Hobbies: Traveling, Reading, Swimming and Jogging

Reflective Log

What I have learnt from working in this project? I can talk for the whole day. But the most important transformations I experienced are as follows:

As a student who just finished a Master degree, with no serious working experience, in the beginning, I joined the project purely because of curiosity. One of my university teachers passed the recruiting information to me and other fellow schoolmates, but I was the only one who actually signed up. At the moment, I was teaching Mandarin on a part-time base, and was very anxious to try different kind of things and learn some social experience. Luckily, I joined the project and became one of the two assistance project managers.

This position is a full-time internship, although it is still quite flexible. For me, to sit in an office facing a computer was a totally new experience. I expected to work from the bottom, taking orders from everyone, just like we normally see in TV dramas; but this position is not as simple as that. Of course I have to follow orders from the project manager, but I actually have to make decisions myself. For a very long time, I couldn’t adjust myself to the role of “in charge” and was quite depressed that I wasn’t given enough instructions, didn’t know what to do. Slowly, by working with everyone in the project, I realized that to take initiative is very important in working as a team, and especially as the coordinator of the team. The project transferred me from a passive order-taker to an active initiator and team player.

從服從命令者到主動參與者

Also, was a freshly graduated student, I was carrying a certain kind of proud when I started working in the project. Almost everyone working in the project is older than me, they are all working. With this groundless proud, I was not very enthusiastic in making friends with fellow volunteers. However, by really talking and working with people from different backgrounds, with different life experience, my attitude changed. An old Confucius saying would be perfect to summarize: “If there are three of us are walking together, I can definitely learn from one of them”. I am impressed by people’s commitment, their willingness and their contribution back to the society; although from different ethnic origins, they shared the same enthusiasm towards charity work and self fulfilling. I am always very grateful of the helps I received, from the project manager, the research and project coordinator and many other fellow volunteers. It’s not easy for someone with a relatively narrow social circle like me to get in touch and work with different professionals, and I feel very lucky about it. This voluntary experience washed away my unnecessary proud, be modesty and gave me chances to directly learn from others.

三人行,必有我師焉

The project also prepared me with essential working knowledge and skills. The first day I went to the office, I didn’t really know what I should do and how I should do it. Step by step, I learnt how to write formal emails, how to answer business telephones, how to take meeting minutes and so on. People might think those things are purely common sense, and I agree. However, there are things and skills in the world that you would never acquire unless you have tried to practice it. I have had a lot of theories in my head, I have read those “common sense” on books and watched them on TV, but to put them into practice is another story. This experience helped me to realize how limited experience and skills I had to work in a professional working environment and gave me chances to learn as well as to upgrade myself.

從教室到辦公室的常識

Also, because this was the first time, after all those years of student life, that I tried to live independently, I had to face a lot of difficulties on my own. In order to be economically independent, I have to try to finish my tasks in the project and to teach mandarin from time to time. It was not easy to run around London just barely manage to support myself, and quitting this project had certainly occurred to me. “After all, it’s voluntary.” Luckily, the thought was short and I held on. It was not only about working experience, it is also about my belief of never quit in the middle of something, and never be irresponsible. I had gone through a tough time, and I know there are more ahead of me, but I am tougher now, I am braver and better prepared for challenges.

“天將降大任于斯人也, 必先苦其心志, 勞其筋骨……”

In the beginning I didn’t except working for the project would be this hard. But I am glad that I joined, struggled, learnt and most importantly, changed. I don’t think I can find a better opportunity than the assistance manager of this project; for it is this experience that transforms me from a student to a social man, to prepare me mentally as well as psychically, to step in to the competitive society gradually.

從學生到社會人