How I survived my first year in GPTI

沈業恆 Interpretation Track

  Joining GPTI has been a life-changing experience for me. This statement holds true both metaphorically and literally, as I made the decision to leave my job and embark on a journey to Taiwan, where I could fully embrace a new chapter filled with opportunities for personal growth. If you are curious about how I managed to navigate and thrive in my first year of the program, or if you are seeking valuable tips to guide you on your own journey, this passage offers suggestions that may prove helpful.

  When I first saw my name on the admission announcement a year ago, I did not experience an immediate surge of excitement. Instead, a lack of self- confidence weighed heavily upon me. Having been away from campus for an extended period and being aware that my fellow students were exceptional performers, I questioned whether I could measure up to their standards or even survive in the same classroom. Despite the expectation that these concerns should have dissipated before I submitted my application form, they continued to linger and haunt me during that time. I believe that some students may also experience a feeling of uncertainty after being admitted, despite on different levels. Hence, my primary advice to all first-year students is to undergo a mindset adjustment before entering the program, regardless of whether they tend to be overly confident or lack confidence.

  As I witness the struggles that prospective first-year students are facing, I find myself deeply relate to their experiences, as I see echoes of my own journey in their shoes. These moments serve as powerful reminders of the challenges I have overcome. Every student in the department successfully navigated a rigorous selection process to receive an offer, making them undeniably the cream of the crop. It is important to understand that if a hundred exceptional students from different schools join the same department, only one can claim the top rank. Nevertheless, this does not diminish the talents and capabilities of the other students. Each individual possesses unique qualities that led to their selection, and it is crucial not to underestimate oneself. That was why I frequently reinforced within myself the belief that I was selected because the professors recognized something unique in me and had faith in my potential.

  Simultaneously, it is also essential to realize that engaging in unhealthy comparisons is meaningless, and it becomes evident once entering the program. During interpreting training, it is common to experience moments of discouragement. It is vital to understand that comparing ourselves to others does not contribute to our personal growth or improvement. As an interpreting track student, proficiency in both Chinese and English is highly anticipated. Being surrounded by local students who effortlessly speak English fluently like bilinguals, I may have felt the need to exert extra effort. Realizing that I did not rank at the top of my class in either language could have led me down the path of unproductive comparisons. However, I consciously decided to initiate a personal journey of individual growth and self-redemption. I firmly believe that true progress and the realization of our full potential can only be achieved by surpassing our own capabilities, and I am proud to witness my own improvement along this path.

  In addition to cultivating self-trust and refraining from comparisons, it is of utmost importance to acknowledge the profound significance of every event and circumstance in life. At times, I found myself pondering how my life might have unfolded had I pursued my Master’s degree a few years earlier. However, I soon realize that holding onto regrets serves no productive purpose. Instead, I believe that everything happens for a reason. This understanding enables us to foster a mindset of continuous learning and unwavering resilience. Every experience, regardless of its outcome, contributes to our personal growth. Rather than dwelling on setbacks or comparing ourselves to others, we should embrace the precious lessons learned from our unique paths. Such a perspective empowers us to approach new challenges with a sense of purpose, knowing that our past experiences have equipped us with valuable skills and perspectives that can drive us forward.

  Therefore, I placed a strong emphasis on seeking personal breakthroughs and leveraging my past experiences beyond the confines of the classroom from the beginning of my journey. Right from the start of the semester, I took the initiative to volunteer as the class representative, a decision that might have surprised those who have known me for a long time. I embraced this role because I recognized my capabilities in handling administrative tasks and considered it equally significant as my academic studies. It was a deliberate effort to transform my passive nature and actively contribute to the class. Moreover, I viewed my past experiences as a valuable asset, shaping one of my personal strengths. This perspective fueled my expectations of myself when it came to internships and real-life events beyond the classroom. I believed that my prior work experience would enhance my performance and enable me to bring a unique perspective to these situations. Undoubtedly, my thoughts and focus would have been significantly different had it not been for the lessons learned during my previous professional endeavors.

  Throughout the journey, I was questioned and faced numerous challenges posted by others. One cautionary piece of advice I received was that many overseas Chinese students find it difficult to keep up with the demanding schedule as early as week 8. This warning served as a constant reminder and drove me to reflect on my progress. Today, I find myself halfway through the entire GPTI program, having not succumbed to defeat halfway through the first semester. This remarkable achievement is attributed to the mindset adjustment I made and the goals I set for myself. Moreover, I have validated the statement I frequently used to inspire others: Success is not solely determined by the cards we are dealt, but rather by how skillfully we play them. Even if we don’t hold the best cards, with strategic decision-making and wise utilization of our resources, we can still achieve victory.