Monday 16 Oct 2023
DSAS Graduates Mary Jiang

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University is a private research university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Founded in 1834, the university received its name from its original location in Wake Forest, north of Raleigh, North Carolina. In September 2020, U.S. News & World Report ranked Wake Forest as one of the top 30 National Universities for the 25th consecutive year. In addition to the overall standing of 28th place, Wake Forest stands at 24th for Best Value.

Mary Jiang, DSAS Grade 12 student

Mary is mild-mannered just like the mild climate in Jiangnan. It seems as if her kindly eyes have the power to put people's mind at rest and help them feel comfortable.

During her three years of study in Nanwai King’s College School, she experienced a kind of rebirth.

Kayla, Mary’s university guidance counselor said, “Mary has become braver during these three years, she is willing to try a lot of things she has never done before, for example, volleyball and drama; she endures and works through failure or disappointment and has the confidence to express different opinions." Mary believes a person should be warm, beautiful, trustworthy, dignified and strong. These fit perfectly with the motto of Wake Forest University which is her dream university——Pro Humanitate.

"Empathy" brings people closer

Mary has a strong sense of empathy and compassion; she actively participates in various volunteering activities. In September 2018, when she had just enrolled in Nanwai King’s, she participated in Huishan wall painting for the first time. Mary is not only a member of the student council, but also an active participant in Alverstone house activities. Kayla, Mary’s university guidance counselor said “Mary really enjoys spending time with young children, she applied to many universities, including University College London, with Psychology & Education as her chosen major. She frequently talks about her experience of being an assistant teacher of CCAs, she got along well with the younger children and felt happy from the bottom of her heart. She loves children by nature, so I suggested to her that she major in Early Childhood Education." Mary has participated in many activities organized by our school, for example, she was a volunteer for school Open Days on many occasions and an assistant to the psychology teacher. Even though sport is not her strongest subject, she was still inspired by a strong sense of collective honor and commitment, so persevered and participated in training and competition with the school U19 volleyball team for three years.

Mary often volunteers with CCA, helping teachers to build exciting learning experiences for younger students. With a shy smile, Mary said these are all the small things she can do, sometimes she helps the PE teacher prepare basketballs for classes, helps the art teacher remind the students to clean up the wastepaper left behind, or maybe helps the tennis coach pick up a balls that flew out of the court." During her three years in high school, Mary has spent almost every week on campus doing volunteer work with younger students. They are challenging sometimes but whenever she saw their little lovely smiling faces, Mary felt her heart become as soft as a cloud. "I witnessed their growth, and I am glad to see them become more mature and grow day by day."

Outside of school, Mary has also never stopped volunteering. “When I am a volunteer, I can feel my own strength.” At first, her job was to guide parents and children in a parking lot, through this and several other volunteering opportunities, she gradually realized what a wonderful presence volunteers can be. "I get lost very often, if someone can tell me the right direction at the entrance of the car park, I would feel especially warm.”

"I could clearly feel that my words and actions could have a reassuring effect on the chaotic crowd in the moment." Mary smiled as she told a short story, "I met an elderly grandmother at the time who had come to the event alone with her children and she didn't know what to do, she didn't know where to sign in, she didn't know what to do if she didn't have her children's names on the sign-in desk and she was very anxious. I told her that it was okay, that there was no need to rush, that I was a volunteer, and I would help her to ask what to do in such a situation. Then she immediately seemed less anxious, and her frown lifted a little. I suddenly felt how rewarding it was to be a volunteer! I could do my bit to make a bad situation better, to make a confused person feel at ease and warm. Just a little smile from you can infect everyone. I know I'm not special, and that's the power of volunteering!"

"Anti School bullying", we can do more

Having experienced unpleasant social situations in the past, Mary has read many books on interpersonal communication and psychology, such as Nonviolent Communication. She also watched many TED Talks and took psychology-related online courses, which helped her through tough times.

In G10, Mary took part in the China Thinks Big academic competition, she researched school bullying among secondary school students with a group of her classmates. She also visited her primary school and other local primary schools to deliver a speech on "How to prevent bullying in schools". She hopes to spread awareness of anti-bullying in schools to a wider community.

To help children have a better understanding of what school bullying is, Mary created a special picture book for them. After researching the subject, she drew several different types of bullying in the picture book. "I shared my idea with teachers and finally I decided to read the picture book with the younger students during CCA. We spent time together and shared the story of the main character: ‘small milk jar’ in the picture book. To my surprise, after children heard the story, they stopped giggling and promised me that they would get along well with their classmates in the future. I'm really grateful that my life is surrounded by all this love and warmth."

keep faith, keep going

"For Chinese students, the aim of learning focuses solely on getting high scores. After I joined DSAS, I realized that rather than only trying to get high scores, all-round development is more important to me. I learnt volleyball, debating, football, I ran the snack shop with my good friends, and volunteered for various CCAs." In DSAS, Mary clearly realized that learning is a lifelong thing, so don't be discouraged if you cannot achieve the best in a short period. Don't be too anxious as the road ahead is long. As the old saying goes “no pain, no gain”, the road ahead is filled with opportunity and challenges at every turn, so embrace them with open arms, rather than fear them.

Mary loves her chemistry teacher, Ms. Goodson, because of her innovative teaching style. Ms. Goodson assembles her own models to help students understand complex organic chemistry structures and uses a variety of software and gadgets to turn boring chemistry questions into interesting knowledge quizzes. Outside of class, she also spends a lot of time sharing the differences between Chinese and American cultures with students. To help students eliminate exam stress, Ms. Goodson organises parties after each exam, she always brings her homemade chocolate cakes, snacks and watches movies with students.

At DSAS, Mary feels she is surrounded by warm love. "I'm really lucky that I met someone like Ann Shen who treats me with genuine kindness. She's the first person I've met in my life who gave so much of herself to me to help me express my emotions. I was also lucky to meet my roommate Celia Xue who looks so cool and rational, though is empathetic and friendly. It's hard to count all the small things, but I always remember when she carefully applied iodine to my wounds, when she taught me patiently, when she held my hand before exams and encouraged me, and when she gave me heating pad when I got stomachache."

Mary is a child who enjoys having a strong sense of close community, recognition and friendship with her classmates is very important to her. Every student in this class has different personality and interests. The first graduating class is such a close and diverse group of students.

—— Ms. Kayla Chen

During her three years in high school, Mary participated in various activities under the guidance of her teachers, including China Thinks Big, the National Economics Competition, and the Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China....... Thus, she has a strong background in psychology. During a discussion with her university guidance counselor, Mary found an interesting topic and spent three months conducting her own research which eventually became her main application paper.

"Be optimistic, strong, resolute, have faith, and do things step by step. " After receiving an offer from her dream university, Mary is looking forward to the future. She hopes to continue her exploration in the field of psychology at university level and help more teenagers deal with their relationships with family and peers. Having witnessed and learned to understand the conflicts and contradictions between teenagers and families, she also hopes to promote family education through her studies in psychology.