What is dream? Dream is something that is easy to think about yet hard to lock down on and will bring you huge feelings of joy if decide to persist. When many middle-school and high-school students are still dreaming about what kind of college or university they would want to attend, Niantong Gong at Huijia is, on the other hand, dreaming about what kind of person she would want to become. To her, the matter of which school she attends is up to her dream. Therefore, Niantong chose to accept the offer from Barnard College at Columbia University from the many offers of she received from top schools around the world, and this was all driven by her "Sports Journalist Dream." In this time's Huijia Students, let us follow Niantong's "dream-chasing journey" at Hijia.
Hello everyone! I'm Niantong Gong fron 14IB Division 1. On December 14, I received the acceptance letter from my dream school, Barnard College, Columbia University in the City of New York. In that same week, I also received an offer from the top-50 institution University of Illinoi Urbana Champagne to attend their communications school. I have long been fascinated by the sports journalism industry since small, and in my few years at Huijia, I started my own newspaper and magazine, took part in the research of the youth soccer development program, and attended the Stanford summer pre-collegiate program.
Huijia has given me the stage and allowed me to make the best use and practice of my interests, and, most importantly, I can head straight to the best communications school to keep pursuing my dream. I am very delighted to share my story with everyone here today.
A Community Design Has Let Me Fall in Love
When I first arrived at Huijia in the Ninth Grade, I faced two choices – two separate international schools. One was willing to offer me a full scholarship, while the other, Huijia, was willing to offer me an entrance test. After a whole summer of hesitation, I decided to come to Huijia the day before school had started, and this decision was based on the community design project I was a part of in my Ninth Grade.
The community design project in my Ninth Grade was an experience that I can't forget for life. In a month's time, I conducted seven interviews, self-studied PS, AI, ID and other software tools in the Adobe series, and eventually came up creating a 32-page magazine called "The Chinese Dream of Youth Soccer."
The community design project in my Ninth-Grade year was an experience unforgettable for life. In a month's time, I conducted seven interviews, self-studied software tools of the Adobe series, such as PS, AI, and ID, and eventually came up with a 16K 32-page magazine called the "Chinese Dream of the Soccer Youths." Among other students who had also participated in the community design project, someone even spent the month's time to design a computer game, and this same student was, in the others' eyes, a "naughty and immature" kid who has played with literally all small computer devices. In this same month, some student had created art as big as the screen, some had authored and published their own book, some had even produced a full 2-hour-long documentary about WWII… Here, no teachers would tell you what you should do – their job is to guide you to pursue excellence in what you love. My interest was to become a reporter, a sport journalist, and in this one month's time, I did it. I got to interview Huijia's faculty, founder of the soccer team at No.2 Middle School, leader of the Huijia soccer team at the time, Yun Yang (currently serving) and "Nuizi", Jianjun Liu (retired), players of the Guo'an team, as well as my previous middle school teachers. These experiences are very unforgettable, and it's just a process like this that had let me understand the charisma and enigma of education.
How big the heart, how big the stage is.
I am very glad to have arrived at Huijia in my Ninth Grade, not just a random middle school where I could've "wasted my time" in doing all the test-prepping materials as tall as stairs. After entering high school, even though we'd need to take more challenging DP courses, I did not just easily give up pursuing my dream of being a sports journalist thereafter. Here, I completed my first entire publication on "Middle School Times" of the "Beijing Youth Daily" newspaper. That publication was based off of an interview I had with a classmate; he could recite the details of every tiny battle that took place during WWII and could comment on the various affairs now and then. Facing these fellow classmates of mine, I have always felt their excellence so that I've been pushed to strive to become someone just as excellent as they are.
I've kept being involved in a student club in high school, of which many at Huijia have known for a long time – IB Gravity. Another guy and I have been the club leaders of this year's IB Gravity club. We have made six issues of newspaper in one year, and it has been this year of working that has helped me attain growth! In the process of making and operating these six issues, I have obtained sponsorships totaled over ten thousand RMB and gotten myself involved in every step of realizing a newspaper, including newspaper sales. We renovated the way we'd sell our newspaper from retailing at a price of 10 RMB per issue to utilizing the WeChat platform to boost sales: this way, students could pre-order a year worth of newspaper but at a half price. I think that, through this process, my overall skillset got improved, enhancing not only the business mind, but also, the technical knowledge and an insight of communications!
Work of the Huijia Students：IB Gravity
Walk towards the future of dreams with companions of excellence
Here at Huijia, I am free, not only because I get to have a stage to take off my "cuffs" and dance freely, but also because I am always surrounded by a bunch of classmates who are each extraordinary and full of character. We are each very different yet strive to become excellent. Huijia has students who are capable of telling every detail of WWII and even more who are on their ways to pursue their dreams. A good friend of mine had a painting on a school wall, and he got the idea of it from a street artist. The school did not oppose his idea and instead had an art teacher support his work, all because the student treats art as his own dream. This painting still remains and has become a wonderful memory of our entire class.
I have three roommates, and we have been very happy together. They all have their different life directions: one plans to study hotel management, one plans to go into movie production, and the other studies history. It is this diverse environment that has brought me closer to the forefront of our society and synergized our growth through daily interactions. For instance, the roommate of mine who is planning to study film production shot a short movie profound in meaning, which got me moved – she needed to think consider the deepest layer of the society and present it through the visual means; the roommate who is planning to go into history spent her six weeks' time taking history at a summer camp and finished ten books, each being English original stacked up to hundreds of pages; the other roommate of mine who plans to study hotel management discovered during her attendance at the Cornell summer school that everyone around her was son or daughter of Fortune 500 corporation executives, and under this kind of environment, her business mind was running extra, giving her ideas a much stronger push and letting her score higher in Economics. I think it is because of this diversified environment that has allowed each and every one of us to stay happy, grow, and development in individualized ways centering our different interests and strengths. Moreover, I have gained friendship for life. There are 24 students in my division, and I've gotten to know where their interests lie and where they are going for university. They have been accepted by UChicago, NYU, Grinnell College, Purdue... and will be pursuing majors in Economics, Logics, Psychology, Game Design, Art, Physics, Philosophy and so on…
Thank You, Huijia, for Empowering our Journey Ahead
Gratitude is an aptitude. I am very glad that the educational environment my fellow classmates and I have been in has kept us students with such gratitude. On this note, we have to acknowledge the influence the IB educational system has had on us. As an IB student, I have gained a lot. The learning process and mode of thinking we have been in have "molded" us into lively yet integrated person from the inside. Many of my good habits were fostered this way. I still remember when I was doing the alumni interview during the Stanford summer session. I told the other party that I was studying at an IB school, and their first reaction was "So you have very good time management skills." I was a little shocked at the moment, since some of my peers at the summer session didn't know much about the IB diploma and what it entails, but still there were people just like the interviewee, from whom we can portray the influence of the IB curriculum at large.
Niantong Gong with other students at the Stanford summer session
In my college applications, my essay tutor had helped me tremendously. My life experience to then had not been plain and still. I am passionate about journalism and communications, had done over 50 interviews, and wrote from over 30 issues on the newspaper…… So, out of all these activities, which ones should I put in my essays? Thanks to this tutor who'd helped then, letting me depict my stories vividly as I could be in those essays. For this, no one could fake, and everyone would try to delineate their true selves. Everyone's essays were done through their own efforts and endeavors!
Schools have encouraged us to pursue our respective interests and directions of development and to not choose our applying schools based on the U.S. News rankings. Eventually, my classmates and I all got accepted to our reach schools. My biggest dream has always been to study journalism at Columbia University, ranked No.1 in journalism in all of U.S., where I then chose to attend the undergrad program at Barnard College. A classmate of mine who has wanted to study History in the future, when applying to summer sessions, got accepted to both Northwestern's and Brown's. Even though Northwestern ranks higher, but because we all know that Brown's History major is well-renowned, she went to the one at Brown with resolve. Another classmate of mine has wanted to go into Economics, meaning that he would want to apply to UChicago, alongside Harvard and Yale. But again, because UChicago's Economics is ranked top 1 in the States, he would still want to attend UChicago for more advanced studies rather than the better-ranked Harvard and Yale on the comprehensive scale. Huijia would help us best integrate our personal strengths with the strengths of the universities and colleges of our consideration, which is essentially what the admissions officers would want to see in our applications. This is different from the Chinese education. Here in China, all teachers would hope their students to attend Tsinghua or PKU, yet American universities and colleges would love to see whether or not the students actually fit the schools of their choice, and every school would have their own criteria for admission. This is why receiving a college education in the U.S. would bring us such advantage in our futures. To this end, I am grateful for all the college advisory and mentorship assistance given to me during my applications.
Niantong Gong giving a speech as student representative during the coming-of-age ceremony
Huijia is place that actually stipulates growth. I am now very different from who I was four years ago. I have grown a lot and gained a lot. Our generation has been extremely lucky, and I'm only one of them. I hope to travel with all of you on the paths of our dreams and will eventually approach success!