Another year and another class of graduating students will say goodbye to their alma mater and start a new journey. The four years spent at UIC is some of the best years of their life. How many stories and sceneries have been treasured along the way? How much has hard work paid off? Year 4 Public Relations and Advertising student, Zhang Zixin, is one of these students who shared her story.

 

"This must be the happiest four years of my life. In these four years, I can feel that I have changed a lot, and the people, environment and stories here have made me very affectionate about the College."

Zhang Zixin is full of gratitude and nostalgia for her life at UIC. After graduation, she will go to University College London to study for a master's degree in public policy.

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Zhang Zixin

In Zhang Zixin's university life, the most important keyword is "happiness". Her happiness stems from her free exploration of growth, and the richness brought by the diverse platform of UIC. She has been awarded a scholarship for three consecutive years, minored in Business Programme, challenged herself with many creative and research projects. She was awarded as an excellent Peer Mentor and has been very active in club activities.

Many "first-time experiences" at UIC still make Zixin beam with joy. The first time she wore a formal dress for a group report, the first time being a Peer Mentor, the first time attending a High Table Dinner, and the first stage play performance. Zixin said that UIC had let her experience unexpected things, and constantly continued to tap into her potential.

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Zhang Zixin (left) with her freshman classmates

As a matter of fact, before enrolling at UIC, Zixin didn't know much about public relations and advertising. After studying, she discovered that this major relates to many aspects of life. Social media, internet celebrities, brand promotion, and public relations are all examples of what they learned. "These four years have cultivated our ability in all aspects, including writing, speaking, graphic design, planning, research, etc.," Zixin said.

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In Junior year, Zhang Zixin (left) with Dr Chally Lim (second from left) and other members of her group

Zixin's first group project was to do an advertising solution for Guangdong's local milk brand. Under the guidance of the teacher, the team members carried out the research, visited brand stores, interviewed consumers, understood the status of the brand and the market, and completed the advertising design and planning programmes step by step. By collecting and analysing information, and then forming their ideas, Zixin believed that this was a fascinating process that helped form real-life experience.

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Zhang Zixin's group project about a Guangdong local milk brand

The group project that impressed Zixin the most was how to make a company's negative image turn into a good public image. As a team leader, she worked hard for nearly a month with teammates to complete a 30-page plan, showing the company's internal and external communication as well as event planning.

It was during her sophomore year that Zixin decided to undertake a minor in Business Programme and insisted on completing more than two years of course study after being inspired by her Mentor Care Programme (MCP) instructor. Zixin said that cross-disciplinary learning makes her more capable and helps break through the original mode of thinking when considering the problems, and also cultivates a macro understanding of enterprise development.

In addition to professional and minor courses, Zixin also served as a Peer Mentor as well as a student assistant of the International Development Office at UIC and held multiple positions in United Innovation Charity Club. As the head of the student club ancient villages preservation programme, Zixin and her teammates spent a year visiting eight ancient villages in Zhuhai. They took photographs, interviewed the villagers, and made observation records into posts on their WeChat public accounts. They held cultural events at Nazhou Ancient Village, which promoted college students' understanding of the ancient village and thinking about the conservation.

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At UIC, teamwork is an important skill. Zixin believes that during her four years, her teamwork ability has been greatly improved. "I have gradually learned that a good leader needs to have an affinity, be good at listening to others' ideas, be able to activate team members, and inspire each other with ideas."

“Critical thinking” is another important achievement of Zixin during her time at UIC. "Four years of training has built a habit in me. I try to be more rigorous in my studies. In my case analysis, I would consider whether there is an effective theoretical framework to support and whether my expressions are professional enough."

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During her busy university life, Zixin always tried to maintain the habit of getting up at 7 am and going to bed before midnight, and arranged tasks to be completed the next day in advance. She likes the feeling that everything is in order, and she also believes that her day-to-day efforts and persistence are meaningful.

For Zhang Zixin, university means growth and happiness. She keeps moving forward, learning new knowledge, challenging herself in unknown fields, and striving to become a better self.

 

Translator: Lauren Richardson
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Covee Wang
(from MPRO)