Featured Alumna: Lin Shi - China
By Lin Shi, November 28, 2022
My story is one filled with immense gratitude. Whenever I reflect on my studying and living abroad journey in the United States, Green River always comes to mind first, not only because this is where it all started, but because of how much I challenged myself and matured in the two years I spent in this community.
In June 2011, a week after my 18th birthday, I carried with me four American Tourister suitcases and embarked on my trip to the States, fresh-eyed, fascinated, but also timid. My father had been teaching me how to cook and buying me grammar books in the months leading up to my trip, and my mother accompanied me here for the first two weeks (lucky me!). Being an adult in a new environment was such an empowering experience. Even though I was speaking a different language and living in a time zone 15 hours behind China, I felt immediately at ease: my academic advisor, staff at International Programs (IP), new professors, new roommates, and classmates-turned-friends very quickly became the group of people I trusted and communicated with a lot. People in this community went above and beyond to help me get settled in, and I immediately felt the joy and the responsibility to make all the decisions in my academic and social life – I absolutely loved it, and enjoyed the accomplishments and challenges which came along with it.
Among many others, my number one takeaway from Green River is to take a chance and explore the boundless opportunities and experiences life has to offer. I could not recall exactly when I started becoming less closed-off and self-conscious about speaking English in class, but I remembered studying U.S. history and politics in the middle of the night with the e-dictionary my father had bought me, and my two wonderful roommates forming a studying group with me and
becoming my emotional support to get me through the finals week of my first quarter. I submitted my very first resume shortly after, which landed me my first job ever: Student Marketing Assistant at IP. Just when I was undecided between majors, I took on the opportunity to work as an economics tutor, and I enjoyed getting better at learning and tutoring this subject so much that I eventually decided to major in economics. Not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a decade later, I would not only be working on my Ph.D. degree in Economics at American University but also teaching undergraduate students an introductory-level economics course on my own. Every single milestone I have reached required me to take a leap of faith into the unknown. Over the years, I have learned to truly embrace and appreciate the excitements and occasional disappointments the unknown has brought me, for it reminds me to not lose the big picture, which is a path of growth, instead of hyper-focusing on the temporary highs and lows.
I am deeply grateful for the level of care and support this community has given me to help me grow, and I am even more appreciative of the lasting friendships developed at Green River, which makes my journey all the more precious.