Becoming a Better Self

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The train of life rolls on and stops for no one through every station. When I was finishing this blog, my Phoenix journey only had one week left, my Humphrey journey had less than two months left.  I already started to miss this unforgettable year.

When I was writing this blog, I was sitting in a hotel in Las Vegas. I enjoy sitting quietly and watching people passing in front of me. As time goes by, it was getting more crowed, mostly people coming for weekend trips, I began to observe people passing by and imagined their life stories. They were busy taking pictures, shopping, consuming, and entertaining here. They leave their normal life for a short time, enjoying the stimulation and happiness from the desire and passion. Since I was sitting right in the center of the square, I accidentally became the scenery in these visitors’ pictures and videos. It is not easy to find passion in life, and life can also easily get boring, which is perhaps why so many people like a city like Las Vegas. But after an exciting moment, it is harder to go back to normal life.

Therefore, I could imagine the sense of loss and disappointment when I finish my Humphrey year and going back to my former life. Just like the visitors in Las Vegas, they will go back to their normal work after the passionate weekend.  However, more than 80% of our life is commonplace. Therefore, one of my favorite philosophies is “There is only one heroism in the world: to see the world as it is and to love it.” Because this year is extraordinary, so we love, we remember, we miss again and again.

One of the highly delightful things for me is that I’ve become a more independent person in this year. Maybe there are those of the opinion think at the age of 32, I should have been independent for a long time already, but in my opinion, many elder people are even not independent. Independence is a lifelong learning task, the definition of independence includes many aspects: financial independence, spiritual independence, more related to the increase of internal confidence and energy.

My Humphrey year has taught me to be a better and more independent person. Admittedly, it’s not easy to start a new life in a new country, especially when I first arrived. The jet lag, English, food, hot weather, new people from many different backgrounds, all these challenged to me. At the same time, there were plentiful school assignments, meetings, and conferences. All these confusions forced me to learn, accommodate, navigate, manage, and adopt.

In addition, this one-year learning helped me to think independently and make decisions independently. It’s a very important lesson of American culture, equipped with the ability of independent thinking and independent judgement. When you are living in a foreign country with few people to rely on, you must rely on yourself.

On the other hand, I met many supportive people here, my Humphrey team, the professors in the ASU Cronkite school, my mentor, global friends, and new friends. I am grateful and lucky to be selected as a Humphrey Fellow, it is a trust and investment for me. I became a better self from their help, personally and professionally. The essence of personal development should not only about pursue a better self, but also continue helping others surrounding me. This is also the meaning of leadership. I would like to share this experience of thinking and inspiration with the young people in my home country to spark their internal interests.

As I was almost finishing this blog post, an operatic level concert started right behind me, I heard the famous song “Time to say goodbye.” I’ve through a long way from where I began, maybe I will forget the details, but I will remember the emotional moment I have experienced here.

About Siqi Yao

Siqi Yao is a journalist for Phoenix Weekly in Beijing covering international affairs. Yao focuses on the Asia Pacific region, shifts in manufacturing, U.S.-China relations and its effects on average citizens. Yao has a master’s degree in art from Hong Kong Baptist University. She has seven years of journalism experience and is dedicated to providing Chinese readers with impartial stories on foreign countries. During her Humphrey year, she hopes to grow both personally and professionally. She plans to refine her English language skills and study communication theory with a focus on biased news on the internet. She also plans to learn about video journalism, American culture and leadership.

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