Distinguished professors, parents and students,
I am Li Zhongyuan, a 2019 freshman from the College Of Chemical Biology And Biotechnology. It is a great honor for me to stand here today and share my feelings about my first time in Peking University Shenzhen.
Not long ago, every freshman here received a long-awaited envelope. This thin piece of paper, bearing the burden of 16 years of study, fell heavily into our hands. It reminded me of the time in my childhood when I shouted "I want to go to Peking University". Now being a member of PKU, those naive words are realized. I can’t help but start to think about how to make my time here meaningful and without any regrets.
Recently, I fortunately seized an opportunity to read a letter written by Fan Jinshi, an alumnus of Peking University. After graduating from Peking University, she was assigned to protect cultural relics in Dun Huang. She devoted all into her tough work without any complaint during 56 years’ persevering in the Gobi Desert. This commitment came from her belief in the words "The need of the country is our volunteership." Tu Youyou, a nearly 90-year-old alumnus of Peking University, regarded the research of artemisinin as her dream when she was young. After more than half a century’s painstaking research, she finally won the Nobel Prize. They both traveled down the road of pursuing their original aspirations. So how about us freshmen at PKU? When I was an undergraduate, I completed the double major of pharmaceutical science and mathematical finance in Xiamen University. Admittedly, both of them are fascinating paths, but there is always a light in my heart: My passion is to explore the mystery of brain nerves! I think every student out here is like me, there is a beam of light attracting you to something; this is the original aspiration. It can be a great ambition, or just a simple ideal, no matter how far we go, we will continue to hold firmly to it. The original aspiration of SCBB is to creatively integrate multiple disciplines. To reach this end, the professors have set up modern drug research and development platforms and national key laboratories, providing us with the most cutting-edge experimental environment. As for PKU Shenzhen, its initial aspiration is to keep in contact with the international community and take roots in Shenzhen. For this inspiration, over the past 18 years, all the professors have built eight colleges from scratch and are walking at the forefront of interdisciplinary disciplines, providing us with international teaching staff and fertile soil for innovation and entrepreneurship. Fan Jinshi, Tu Youyou and many other Peking University alumni tell us that it is not some material attachments that are precious, our faith and heart are the most precious things in life. It is the original aspiration that leads us to seek for goodness, truth and beauty.
There is a saying in the Hua Yan sutra, "Never forget your original aspiration so that you can get the result you want." Actually, everyone has original aspirations, however, they are not easy to stick to it. Some people lose their true heart following worldly temptation, some people no longer adhere to the original dreams after the experience of pain or defeat. Three or five years of graduate study must be hard and tiring. For my graduation project, I often went back to my dormitory in the early morning, and I was constantly unsatisfied with the experiment and not getting enough sleep. However, I know that scientific research itself is not achieved overnight. When we step into Peking University, we should be ready to become a "long-term tinkers". At the end of 2008, Luo Zhenyu mentioned the concept of "long term thinking" in his New Year's eve speech in Shenzhen. Greatness, he emphasized, is often the result of ordinary people’s slowly compounding returns after taking a long-term view. In my view, "long-term thinking” sharpens us because it cannot be interrupted. You must stick to your path and never be tempted, because if you stop, all your former work will be meaningless. So how can we become a "long-term thinker"? The first step is "one thing is big thing". Only by putting all my efforts into one thing can I resist the uncertainty of changes in the outside world. Secondly, as Confucius said, "Never slack off in your position and fulfill your responsibility loyally." Only by having a matter of supreme execution can we avoid being swept away by the surging waves. As long-term thinkers, we can go slowly, but must choose the right path.
Today, as a model demonstration zone, Shenzhen sets out again. The centennial spirit of Peking University has been further inherited and developed in this land of openness and exchanges. Our university has paved the way to all directions for us, which means that we just need to act as a "long-term thinkers", walking towards our original aspiration fearlessly! There is a saying in a book by Haruki Murakami which goes, "Pain is inevitable, while suffering can be chosen". At the moment we are about to give up going further, please remember, we can. We can continue to choose suffering, choose self-discipline, choose our original aspiration. I believe that you can have a dream in your heart in the future life in PKU.
Finally, I sincerely wish all the students can live in Peking University in a single-minded, pure, resolute, almost stubborn but richly hopeful condition. I hope that in the future, we can recall our perseverance and patience, persistence and dedication, sweat and tears, and admire who we once were.
Li Zhongyuan: 2019 student from College of chemical biology and biotechnology