I was born and raised in China, and studied computer science in Singapore. Due to the influence of my parents, before college I set my life goal as becoming a computer professor. Two years of computer science study in Singapore, however, convinced me that a programmer was not what I pictured myself as. I appreciated the rigorous training in mathematics, algorithm, and programming because it strengthened my logical thinking, and gave me the habit of approaching problems in a solid, step-by-step linear way. The problem with a science education is that it is not very intellectually inspiring. After two years in college, I didn’t feel I made much progress in my understanding of people, the society and the world. And that indicated something was missing because the essence of a college education, I believe, lies in broadening one’s worldview and building and solidifying one’s value system. I felt I was on a track which led me away from what I wanted. That was when I learnt about a double degree program between my university and SILS. In many ways the program suit me perfectly: it would allow me to live in one of the most vibrant cities in Asia for two years, to experience Japanese culture which I had been fascinated about, and to finally be able to explore humanitarian subjects. When I first opened the SILS course booklet, I felt like a long starved person checking a restaurant menu. I sampled widely: political science, economic, linguistics, history, and by the end of my first year in SILS, I had formed the idea of going to graduate school. Although I was still uncertain which field I wanted to concentrate, I was confident that I would find that out in my second year in SILS. It turned out to be true.
As part of the program requirement, I needed to take an advanced seminar in my second year. I chose Professor David Waters’ seminar because it was demanding–substantial amount of reading and applying reading materials in class debates, and because it provided in-depth insights into U.S. legal system. I had always been curious about U.S. legal system: no nation can sustain long without a functioning legal system to balance and check power; and the United States without doubt sets up a role model in this. Enthusiastic as I was about each Supreme Court case we discussed in the seminar, I did not consider going to law school and a career as a lawyer were for me. A life changing experience may not be as dramatic as one might think. It can be brought about by a piece of information, a kind advice, and an encouragement to make the first step. It is a realization that you are ready. After discussing with Professor Waters and talking to the seminar graduates who went to law school, I made up my mind.
I will be attending Georgetown Law school this fall. I’ve come a long way from where I was when I came to SILS. I’m happy with where I am right now, and look forward to whatever future may bring. For those of you who have made up your mind, I would like to congratulate you: the most difficult part was over; the rest will come naturally as long as you don’t give up. For those of you who are yet to decide, I want you not to worry too much. College is about self-discovery. The process inevitably involves confusion and feeling lost, but it rewards generously those who make efforts. You are in a great school with professors who care about you. Work hard and be patient, and in the meantime enjoy and let those who are helping you and supporting you know your gratitude. No one can make it on his own alone.