Personally, I think there were so many interesting things to write about my university life but they might not sound interesting to any of you. (You may log off now.) I really believe that I had a very much fulfilled university life. The only complaint about my university actually came from my mother because I spent most of my waking hours at school for work, student clubs or classes. I guess I was hardly home. According to my mother, home was like a hotel to me, a place only to sleep in. (Hehehe. Sorry, Mom!) She even had a saying for me, something like this, I was like a dragon outside my home but I immediately became a worm whenever I hit home.
 
I was one of those university students who were busy getting involved in clubs and the student union. Ever since the first year of university, I started working part time on campus as a copy girl and later a secretary at the Physical Education Department. In addition to my student loans and scholarship, I needed those jobs to earn more money to help pay for my expensive tuition, imported books and other living expenses. I remember that I worked in the back of the university campus and had to walk all the way to the university administration office many times a day. I finally saved enough money to buy a brand new bike for work one day but it was stolen a day later. I also met a lot of kind people, great teachers and famous athletes through my work. Those were precious memories that would never fade away in my mind. (Maybe I will write about them one day. I believe blogging will help me combat my early Alzheimer later on. Hehe.)
 
Ever since high school, I loved going to different camps in the summer. One year I signed up for a week-long military camp. That was an eye-opening experience for me. I could slide on a rope with a fork of a tree branch over a river or walk with two suspended ropes like a trapeze to cross the valley. (Note 2) I could take the rigid discipline and the long march over the mountains. I could take the lean meals, little sleep and the heavy workout days in and days out in the heat. However, one thing I couldn’t stand was to take a 3-minute cold shower with 20 other screaming high school girls. (Hahaha, don’t get any wrong idea!) The interesting thing was that everyone cried, whined and complained about the life in the military camp, but by the end of the camp, everyone cried, whined and didn’t want to leave. They were reborn through hell, I guess.
 
As you could see, the camps that I went to were quite different from those popular ones that many young friends would take nowadays. In fact, not too many of my peers would sign up for the camps that I had taken. I did learn a great deal from those experiences though. Any hardship could either defeat a person or make this person stronger, and I’d like to think that those experiences of hardship only made me stronger in spirit and more willing to take risks. (Note 3)
 
At the end of my freshman year, I had the opportunity to attend a week-long leadership training camp, which was named after the three resilient plants in winter: pine, bamboo and plum tree. Honestly, it was so long ago and I simply couldn’t remember much about what I learned from that workshop/camp but I did meet a few good friends, with whom I later made some business connection. Through the leadership camp, I was given a very precious opportunity later to become an activity guide and a camp leader. I started working as a hiking leader and a camp leader for high school students during the summer and winter vacations when I did not have any income from my part time office work at school. (Note 4)
 
Two groups of activities that I enjoyed the most were to take the high school groups hiking along the mountain highway across the central Taiwan from Taichung to Hualien and along the eastern coastal highway from Hualien to Taidong. I loved hiking and enjoyed looking at the beautiful scenery of Taiwan. Each hiking trip would take about a week to complete. It was great to have fun and make money at the same time.
 
The first hiking leader I was paired with was a medical student Shu. Dr. Shu apparently is practicing in Xing Dien. Taipei. I accidently found his blog but it was no longer active. Time flies. Last time I saw him was when my father was in the hospital after his operation. Anyway, Dr. Shu used to call himself a country boy and had a really twisted sense of humour which was quite interesting and contrary to any impression I had for a medical student. For a few years, we often worked as a team during the summer or winter vacations taking hiking groups. When I had the opportunity to help organize a summer camp at a horse ranch for the famous radio broadcaster Mr. Lee Ji Zhuen, I actually called Dr. Shu up to help me organize the event.
 
Another good friend I met through the leadership camp was KS from Jiao Tong University. KS was one of my teammates when we went through the leadership training camp. KS loved baseball and had a great sense of humor as well. I remember he used to come to my university to visit because he was interested in a girl (not me, sigh…) in my department. It did not work out for both of them in the end. Anyway, he was the one who contacted me when he got the opportunity to run the summer camp at the horse ranch. We kept in touch till I got to Canada. Last year, I found KS through Google search and got reconnected with him. (I know he reads my blog as well.) KS is working as a computer engineer and currently living with his family in California.
 
Of all summer camps that I had organized during my years in Taiwan, the horse ranch camp was one of those unforgettable events. The fall weather was terrible due to some heavy rainstorms of a typhoon. Kids were supposed to live in the tents and camp out in the field where later turned into mud after the rain. We had to find other ways to accommodate the campers and to run the activities. The host company and the ranch owner were inexperienced about how a summer camp should be run, so we actually had some technical difficulties throughout the camp. It was definitely a great experience though; especially, I had my first horse riding experience. Plus, we were just average Joes and we got to work for a celebrity like Mr. Lee who was the most famous radio/TV talk show host at the time.
 
I spent a lot of time planning events for the University student union and outside the university; however, I didn’t take a major leading role in organizing events for my own department. I guess it all depended on the nature of those events the department had organized at the time. The student association for the English department was responsible for planning many extra-curricular activities. Most of those activities were social events, such as dance parties, inter-departmental BBQs or inter-departmental outings, except the annual school plays. Don’t get me wrong. I was always there to help the association do the legwork or recruit my classmates to attend those events. (Hey, I could dance “free style” and I loved to eat. So, what could be better than attending those social events?) Many of the social activities seemed to be for male and female students to meet one another. I guess traditionally there were tons of female students majored in English and the opposite applied to the Electrical Engineering, Physics or Math departments. Every time when the English association had a party, it was always jam-packed!
 
The annual English Drama Performance was the event that I was quite excited about. I was really interested in the study of Performance Art as well. Every class in the English Department from the sophomore year and up had to produce an English play every year. The graduation class also had a big production of a play at the end of the year. I was definitely going crazy whenever it was time to prepare for the annual English play. We only had a small group of classmates who were able and willing to get involved in the play. For many years, I had so much fun working as a stage manager, a director and an actress on stage with my classmates. I had a great group of friends.
 
Every time after my involvement in organizing an event, I drew the experience to help me become a better team player and planner at the student union. The more I was involved, the better person I became. I was very thorough at planning an event, from a small exhibition to a big conference. All those experiences were also added to my resume later when I applied for the job as a conference-and-event organizer. It was not easy to balance school life and extra-curricular activities, but I did the best I could. I truly believe that extra-curricular activities are an important part of a student life to help develop a highly motivated and all rounded thinker; especially for an education system that is so rigid and academic achievement seems to be the only goal for life, we need to promote a healthy life style outside the academic realm. My only regret was that, in order to participate in those activities as well as working part time, I sacrificed my family time for a fulfilled university life. (Mom, I am truly sorry for what I did.)
 
Note 1: I actually wrote that part of my experience in Chinese. Please read the Chinese article at http://blog.pixnet.net/Julia1492/post/5444708 

Note 2: We were not like Rambo. We all had a safety belt hooked to another rope. Hehehe) I was brave because I knew I had a safety backup.
 
Note 3: Maybe that characteristic became an obstacle for me finding a date in university because many of my guy friends treated me like one of their buddies. We just hang out. People said they were intimidated. Why o Why? Sigh… (Don’t ask. I will not write anything about my personal “date” or romance stories here because they were pathetic!)
 
Note 4: One year I had to leave home to lead a hiking group in Hualien right after Chinese New Year. My mom was NOT too thrilled about it. You see, I was born on Chinese New Year and it was always a big deal for my birthday not because of my birthday but because it IS the New Year. (Hehehe.)
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My Corner for Education

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