For most women, physics is not their preferred academic discipline. However, Jiang Haoyue fell in love with physics at high school and did not hesitate to declare physics as her major in SUSTech. Over the last four years, she has burned the midnight oil numerous times in the physics lab and worked harder than her male counterparts. On top of that, she was also a key player at the residential college football team and a summer volunteer teacher in rural China. She is full of pure energy, just like a shining star.
"Just Because I Love It"
Jiang Haoyue said: "The reason why I love physics is that I want to explore the essence and principal of things. Although physics is a challenging subject that can really set you apart from others in important examinations, I don't consider these factors when working on it. I always focus myself on the questions only and motivate myself with why I fell in love with physics in the first place." Haoyue's approach to physics has freed herself from many unnecessary burdens, which contributed to her outstanding performance in physics.
"I never care about the negative opinions like 'physics is not suitable for girls' or 'physics cannot land you a good job in the workplace.' I am obsessed with physics just because I love it. We really need to break free from these gender and social stereotypes."
With such determined mindset, Haoyue has spent numerous hours in the physics lab, earned herself an unofficial status of "permanent lab resident," got a decent GPA, and received many scholarships. Besides, the way she talked about physics was like telling an interesting story. She really proves that true passion can overcome any kind of difficulty and make it into something fun.
Standing by SUSTech's Side from the Beginning
During the interview, Haoyue mentioned several times that she had a "pure" personality, which coincides with the literal meaning of her Chinese first name: bright moon. By saying "pure personality," she meant that she was following her heart every time she made a choice in life. Once the decision was made, she would not hesitate or be swayed by other factors.
The reason why she chose SUSTech was the campus promotional video, which moved her to tears. In the video, there is a line that later became one of her favorite mottos: "What wakes us up every morning is not the alarm clock, but the dream of higher education reform in China."
"I know most people will think I was overreacting or my behavior was completely unbelievable. But I am telling the truth, and I don't need to feel sorry about it. I genuinely believe SUSTech is a special university with a powerful mission that sets itself apart from other traditional universities." Shortly after, she met Physics Professor Chen Lang at the SUSTech independent recruitment examination and was deeply drawn to his research and personality.
"Because SUSTech is a fairly new university with a mission of reform, it will inevitably face many doubts and rumors. I believed in SUSTech and my instinct, and eventually chose to come here. What SUSTech has achieved in such a short period of time proves that my choice is absolutely right. Besides, the faculty members in the Physics Department are truly awesome. If SUSTech can invite and keep them here, it means I'm coming to the right place." Haoyue said with a smile on her face.
Besides standing by physics and SUSTech, she also stands by her favorite sport –football. After joining the residential college soccer team in her junior year, she had to practice from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day or every other day from March to May. At the same time, she was conducting high-level research tasks in the physics laboratory. As a result, she usually went to the laboratory straight from football practice. Despite such a physically and mentally challenging schedule, Haoyue did not give up either of her loves.
Giving Back to Society with a Pure Heart
Similar to her devotion to academia and sports, Jiang Haoyue has a pure love for volunteer work as well. In the past years, she spent every summer holiday teaching all kind of students as a volunteer. "I have taught kindergarten kids, elementary school students, middle and high school students and university peers among my different volunteer jobs," Haoyue said.
When asked about why she likes teaching, she responded in detail: "I've been interested in education since I was little, and my teaching experience in rural Sichuan has really inspired me. When I was teaching there, I found that the education of children is not just about equipping them with useful knowledge and giving them what they need. It's actually about the mutual educational experience – when the kids felt that you were good to them, they would treat you well and gave you little surprises that warmed your heart. For example, I received paintings and other small presents from them. Some of them even told me that they would come to Shenzhen and find me when they grew up. I was deeply moved and decided to be more grateful to this world, and to what I already have."
"There's one more thing I want to share about my teaching experience in rural Sichuan. Before I went there, I heard people saying that the kids would cry loudly, hug you tight and wouldn't let go when volunteers were about to leave. That's not the case in my experience. My students were mature and understanding. They said: 'We really appreciate your help in teaching us and letting us know about the big world outside. We will work hard and see you soon in Shenzhen.' Their gifts and farewell words made me realize their devotion without considering anything in return can be truly worthwhile.
Despite sacrificing research time by going to rural Sichuan, Haoyue managed to squeeze in time for her studies over the summer. As a result, she barely had time to reunite with her parents back home, and she felt sorry about that. Fortunately, her hard work paid off, and she recently received an admission letter from College of William & Mary, the second oldest higher education institution in the United States.
Haoyue hopes she can keep giving back to the world with a pure heart, as Rabindranath Tagore says in Stray Birds: "The world has kissed my soul with its pain, asking for its return in songs."
Original Article: Sui Xiaodi
Translation: Fan Yining
Proofreading: Chris Edwards
Photos: Jiang Haoyue
Homepage Banner Design: Qiu Yan