“Autumn … the year's last, loveliest smile.”— William Cullen Bryant
It was gleefully gratifying to be in WHU this autumn. The students rested in the green yards under the floating clouds and gleaming sun, chatting while the butterflies fluttered carelessly around the succulent poppies. The sweet aroma of the flowers, the swift breeze and the melodic singsong whetted our senses at the peak of autumn. The gratuitous brisk walks around the university, under the canopies of red and yellow leaves, only added to our unfettered adoration for this beautiful university. The sidewalks were purple-hued by the falling berries and autumnal leaves are strewn all over it. Every turn and every corner of the university looked so picturesque- autumn’s materpiece. Shutterbugs yearned to capture the unfolding autumnal kaleidoscope, some painted them on canvas with the historical landmarks at the backdrop while others romanticized them in stanzas. WHU’s vast Senecio enhances the autumnal beauty to the extent that its compliment seems so banal.
Fretful nights before the exam are the most scariest- scarier than the exam itself. We lined up at the library entrance in this chilly December morning and remain fixated to the seats until the closing hours and even minutes- trying to make the most of this precious pre-exam time. An exam is when we put our knowledge to test- those accumulated during class lectures and well, in my case, during midnight cramming sessions before the exam. My seemingly miserable scenario is best described by the Chinese phrase “linshibaofojiao” which literally means- to clasp Buddha’s feet when danger arises.
As we try to grapple with our studies amidst confusion and frenzy, we are also attuned to the festive spirit. We even defied the fallacy that Christmas or New Year has to involve Western typical celebrations. We celebrated Christmas in the company of friends—both Chinese and foreign—over sumptuous Chinese dinner. While exchange of Christmas greetings and gifts remained a long- revered tradition, some of us also enjoyed brilliant end-of-term theatre shows at the university.
These four years of college life are unbelievably short and will be over in a blink of an eye. These tiny, precious moments with our teachers and friends are what we will look back to after we graduate.
A Christmas tree at the library with messages on sticky notes
2017, we have been waiting for you. For WHU, it’s one more remarkable year with some groundbreaking achievements. We are still skeptical about what this fresh New Year will bring. As foreigners, whose loved ones are on the other side of the globe, we would perhaps party with our buddies till the wee hours while listening to some live gigs. Wuhan, being a cosmopolitan city, is literally dotted with live music venues and cocktail bars. We have a vast motley of options to choose from—a scenario in contrast to the past—when Wuhan had a few nightclubs. We look forward to bonding with friends and sharing our plans for the idyllic vacation over a glass of cocktail while our non-alcoholic overly rule-bound peers might stick to cranberry juice. After our shared tiredness at the classes, dancing to tunes of hysterically peppy beats under the vibrant neon-lights seems like a well-deserved stress-buster. At the struck of the midnight, we bid adieu to 2016 with a whoopee and presciently look forward to another year of challenges and opportunities. Life seems like an unfailingly simplified equation where responsibilities go in par with adventure but our generation goes by the precept of ”work hard, play harder”.
By the end of this year, most of us will have achieved our academic and personal goals—which we so ardently wanted—along with a smattering of disappointments. But these low moments in life propels us towards more challenging and insurmountable paths. At times, we might feel creatively hamstrung, fueled by discontent but we have to keep on challenging assumptions and make difficult decisions. This persistence and dedication towards our work is what connotes the essence of our existence. We keep telling ourselves and each other that we have it all figured out but deep down, we know it’s not what we wanted. This new year, we can reevaluate our goals; and take my word on this, it’s never too late to start again!!
Wishing you a happy New Year 2017 and all the best for the upcoming exams. We also wish you a happy Spring Festival and Chinese New Year and we will be waiting for you to return with renewed zeal and enthusiasm. Happy holidays!
(Edited by Edmund Wai Man Lai & Hu Sijia)