Jun. 8, 2018
Written By: Steven Chen (陳冠儒)
Photo Credit: NTUEA (臺大學生會外務部)
The National Taiwan University (NTU) International College Provisional Office and the NTU Student Association, the Department of External Affairs (EA), continue once again to work together this semester in the second co-hold event “The Youth Talk II: The Future and Prospects (青年講堂二:未來與出路)” on the 8th of Jun, with over 100 students in attendance.
In “The Youth Talk II: The Future and Prospects,” the NTUEA had successfully invited two distinguished young ladies as the speakers: Ms. Hsieh (謝佩芬) the former permanent diplomat representing Tuvalu in the United Nations, who enrolled into the Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School after graduating from the Department of Law in NTU, and is now the founder of Café Philo in New York (哲學星期五@紐約) and the columnist at Crossing (國際換日線專欄作家). The other speaker was Ms. Chou (周嘉葳). After graduated from the department of Finance in NTU, she was first served as the summer intern at Goldman Sachs, and is currently working at the BNP Paribas Taiwan (法國巴黎銀行).
“We are all little miners, and we are just about to embark our journey!” said Ms. Chou, or Vivian, who is currently working at the BNP Paribas Taiwan as a wealth management trainee after graduating from the Department of Finance. For Vivian, this was also her first delivering the speech to undergraduates at NTU, and thus, instead of bombarding attendees with all the jargons in the financial industry, she made her speech an unexpected “mining” journey that everyone shall encounter sooner or later.
“You will never get all the information you need,” Vivian asserted, as she carried on her speech in explaining the fact that no one, especially the seniors who are in search of jobs, will ever receive enough amount of information when needed, “the only thing you have to do is to be prepared!” Vivian not only encouraged every undergraduate to choose an unbeaten path, but also tried to make the decision assertively as we all carry on our life. “What you are seeking for may change as time goes by,” said Vivian, as another piece of advice. She explained to everyone that what we insisted long ago maybe somewhat different as we all grown up. Therefore, of all the unexpectedness in the mining journey, we may end up somewhere we never anticipate before. “Perhaps you might not want the gold in the end,” smiled Vivian, in hope of everyone did find an answer from her experience sharing.
“I share all these with you because I want to show you that there are many opportunities are there for you,” said Ms. Hsieh, or Pei, currently the founder of Café Philo in New York and the columnist at Crossing. Not long time ago, she was also an undergraduate that was nervous about the future and confused about the meaning of life. In her experience sharing, she not only shared with us her decision in diving into the field of political science and public affairs, but also those trials and errors she had encountered in Harvard Law School, including the culture shock from the West and the peer pressure from such competitive environment.
“On arriving Harvard, I was happy, but what’s more, I was nervous,” explained Pei, “because I did not have the courage to raise the hand in class by then.” For Pei, completing a master degree at Harvard was a real deal, and what was more, it was her first time studying overseas. During those years in Harvard, she was once devastated, not only mad at herself not having the courage to stand up and speak in class, but also depressed for not fully understanding the meaning of the party culture in the States, in which was another nightmare when first arrived there on the campus.
“However, I was never the conformist,” said Pei, as she explained of her ways overcoming those difficulties in life in Harvard. “And I like to try new things and am always looking for something new.” For Pei, everything was never an easy job, but she knew in heart that she could not give up since she had walked thus far. It was this kind of perseverance and positivity that made her establish a student club in Harvard, mainly introducing Taiwan to all club members, afterwards.
“I saw the purpose of the things I did, seeing the values of all these,” said Pei, this time encouraging all attendees to the youth talk to carry on life with a specific goal in heart, just as she chose to work in the United Nations for a period of time after graduated from Harvard Law School. “Because Taiwan is not a part of it,” she smiled, “and thus I want to do something different.”
As the event entered into its second half session, the cross-dialogue session, the NTUEA was more than happy to welcome the head of the NTUEA, Steven, to mediate the session.
This session began with the discussion of whether students graduating from prestigious universities should take on any responsibility. “Just be the person that you like,” Vivian replied. “There is no need to care what others think about us, we are who we are,” most of all, she said confidently, “We could decide ourselves how much responsibility we want to take on.” However, Pei had a totally different viewpoint with regard to this question. “For me, to take on responsibility is like a belief.” For Pei, she was the person that hoped to walk into the public, and dedicated herself to a greater change to the society. Although these two speakers had different opinions toward each other, both of them agreed that everyone should step outside of the comfort zone and take on more challenges.
When it comes to the issue of the “invisible glass ceiling,” Steven the mediator asked the two speakers: “Since both of you are women, have you ever felt or experienced that being a woman does bring you some difficulties when trying to pursue your career?” “I don’t have the difficulties now, but may have in the future,” Vivian answered. Vivian claimed it was hard for her to observe any at the present time since it was only her first year in this industry, but she did speak of the fact that being a woman was of an advantage in negotiating with the clients. On the other hand, Pei mentioned that she had bypassed such situations once in a while both when studying in Harvard and working in the United Nations. “But you have to overcome it, no matter how hard it could be,” said Pei, as the cross-dialogue session reached its end.
Perhaps what the NTUEA could offer was still limited, simply these two youth talks in this semester. However, every crew member tried their best in preparing every youth talk for all attendees. The NTUEA hoped when every attendee left, a lesson could be brought away, and a new journey shall embark right away!