I’m not good at goodbyes.
Over the past few years, I have faced many many goodbyes, and yet I still can’t get through them without feeling torn apart. In fact, the thing I hate most about new beginnings are the goodbyes I leave behind.
And saying goodbye to CBS, a school that has accompanied me wherever I’ve been for the past six years, is definitely not easy.
However, the most exciting part of this goodbye is that I graduated. Yes, it isn’t that big of a deal, we will all do it sooner or later, no doubt.
The difference is that this year has mentally exhausted me to the point where I honestly wanted to quit. I would open my thesis document or any article concerning U.S. export controls and I would literally cry, followed by lots of chocolate and Red Bull.
I must have gained several kilos, but who cares at this point. I made it. I can go back to my bucket list and finally cross off “Graduate from university before turning 26”.
As part of my virtual goodbye to CBS, I want to share with you my favorite anecdote from these past 6 years concerning my academic life. It all started in 2014 when I visited CBS for the first time. The occasion was the Bachelor Open House, and I had my eyes on a BSc in International Business.
Back then, I was 18, and attending campus was such a scary moment. I felt so small and dumb, looking at all those adults wearing fancy clothes, doing important things and getting their life together (now I know that the key is just fake it til you make it).
As usual, I arrived annoyingly early for the presentation that I wanted to attend, so my options for killing time were H&M or checking out another presentation. Given the status of my bank account, I went for the latter, and ended up watching the presentation for the BSc IBP program.
I entered without any expectations (or interest) but that 30-minute introduction to politics by Professor Ashbee captivated me to the point that I actually ended up applying for the BSc IBP as my first priority – and got in.
Sadly, after I began my bachelor, I began living with depression and had to quit after a month and a half in order to go back home and take care of myself – and because of my stupid teenage stubbornness, I didn’t want to apply again to the same program even though I knew deep down that it was the right one for me.
Thus, I applied, got in and graduated in 2018 from BSc IB. But I always kept what my friends call an academic crush on the professor from that short lecture in March 2014 – not in a stalker kind of way!
What’s the fun part, you might ask? Well, it turns out that six years later, coming back to the present time, Professor Edward Ashbee has been my thesis supervisor. To my surprise – because I am one of the students who doesn’t read the course description until the course begins – he came to China to teach us Policy Processes in 2019, and I nervously decided to ask whether he would like to supervise my thesis.
Now the downside of having a supervisor you admire is how nervous I was every time I had to send him a draft, as I really didn’t want to disappoint him. The upside is that he has been an amazing supervisor from whom I have learnt a lot and he has pushed me to my limits. Thus, my years at CBS began and ended with the same person.
As this is my last post for CBS Wire, I wanted to make a shoutout to him because, while it’s easy to find smart professors, it’s another matter finding engaging professors whom students remember after 6 years and who inspire them to improve. I also know he reads my blog posts, so thank you for everything Eddie!
I truly can’t believe my time at CBS is over. I am no longer a student. I am an alumnus. An unemployed alumnus.
My years at CBS have taken me down paths I could have never predicted. I have been a tour guide in order to escape the business world for some hours a day, I have helped CBS students with a random election campaign in which I wasn’t even part (but VOTING is so important, haven’t we all learned the lesson?), I was almost expelled from the BSc for a game involving tampons and wine during the intro weeks in 2016, and I went on exchange to China.
And then came studying for my master’s.
In 2018, I changed my field of study and packed everything to move back to Beijing to do my master’s, which also got me accepted for three internships at the United Nations, Danish Embassy in Argentina and the European Commission – in addition to becoming a blogger at CBS Wire.
I almost got expelled (again?!?!) for supporting the Hong Kong protests on WeChat, and ended up enjoying research more than ever – but the absolute best part has been the people I’ve crossed paths with during every single one of all these adventures. So, thanks to you all, you have been such an inspiration to that scared girl who stepped into CBS in 2014.
I can now look back at her and say: relax, we’ve got this, we’ve all got your back!
And my very last piece of advice for y’all is: take the risks. You never know where you might end up. During recent years, I have endured moments of sadness, desperation and loneliness.
I have lived in 5 different countries and moved 9 times, I have crossed path with people I don’t talk to anymore and with others I hope to keep in contact with for a long time, and I have found myself in stressful and unpleasant situations in different academic settings that have challenged me in ways I could never have imagined. But if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
Take care! Vi ses!