Guest blogger 2: Trans Li — “To be an elite”

Trans Li DongLing 李冬凌

Trans Li DongLing 李冬凌

Our latest student blogger is another graduating senior, Li DongLing 李冬凌. Her English name is Trans, which is short for “translator,” her dream job. Her hometown is near the city of Changde, about three hours from here. She’s been my student since 2011. Trans is now interning in Shenzhen for an automotive tool-and-die factory.

To be an elite

The truth is, I am not an elite yet, and there is quite a long, hard journey ahead for me to reach that point, but I swear to be an elite in the future. It is a lifelong promise to myself.

I am an ordinary girl without special talents, who comes from a small village. But looking back, life has never treated me as an ordinary girl since I was born. I dare not say I have been through many bitter and hard things. I only can say each thing that has happened to me has made me stronger and more mature. It is common to see people defeated by all kinds of troubles, and certainly I have met many troubles, too. The key for me surviving these troubles — even failures — is my own belief.

I am an English major and have learned about western culture. So, I know many people in the West have faith in Christianity or other religions. I once asked myself which religion did I believe in. The answer was, “None.” Some people, especially the people with faith in some religion may say that is pathetic: how could a person live without believing in some religion!!!? But for me, I can live quite a good life by holding to my own belief.

Actually, I believe in a lot of things. Specifically, they are sentences. They give me spiritual power which can keep me moving forward with a confident smile.

First, the more diligent you are, the luckier you are. Maybe my diligence comes from my parents. Or at least, it was my family environment that made me a diligent girl. I was born to a poor family. Now, my family has gotten richer, not because of speculation, but because of my parents’ diligence. My parents always told me, “Don’t worry about the tuition, we can fix it. You only need to focus on your study, which is the only way to give you a bright future. And as we are ordinary farmers, we don’t know some powerful guy who can pave the way for you, so you must forge your own bright future with your own hands.”

I appreciate everything that my parents have done for me. They could not help me with my homework, and even did not know what kind of pressure I had in school, or even whether I did well at school. They never give compliments to me. [This is normal in Chinese families. — Ed.] Maybe this is the reason why I study so hard to be nearly perfect. I only want to win my parents’ compliments — their sincere appreciation of my progress. I want to be their hero, and make them proud of me, their daughter.

In middle school, I can not say I was a diligent student. But since I failed the entrance examination to high school on the first try, I changed into a totally different person, who looked like a nerd in my classmates’ eyes. Only I and my BFF know who I am truly am. In high school, at first, I did not catch my teachers’ attention because my grades were only average. Also, I was an introverted girl at that time. But, after one semester, I ranked first in my class. Teachers and classmates were all shocked. But we all knew the reason — I always put my whole heart into studying, not only in the classroom, but also in the dorm. I often stayed up late into the night to study. I never complained about that; instead I appreciated it.

Fortunately, the diligence in my soul never changed after I entered college. From freshman year to senior year, the diligent essence never changed, but it took a variety of forms. “English major” is not just a label for me; I want to make it be my particular icon. So almost every day, I will practice listening, speaking, reading, writing, translating, etc. Not only do I learn from books, but also from the Internet and from John. I appreciate my efforts in English study, because my oral English is getting better and better, and my pronunciation is nearly correct. [I will back up that statement, BTW. –Ed.]

My second belief is, persistence doesn’t mean success, but it definitely can help you. I have a dream, that is to be a simultaneous interpreter* (see below) in the future. I watched a movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. A line in it left a deep impression on me: If you have a dream, you’ve got to protect it. If people cannot do something themselves, then they want to tell you cannot do it. If you want something, go get it. So, I always remind myself — especially when I want to give up — that I want to be a simultaneous interpreter. I must conquer any existing problems and keep moving forward.

When I was a freshman, my oral English was terrible, because I had never received oral English education before. As most of my classmates did receive it before college, I felt a sense of inferiority. But I killed this kind of negative thinking immediately by embarking on promoting my oral English. The process was not so easy, but I have worked on it for almost four years and I enjoy it. People always say that oral English is the face** of the English major. I believe that.

So anytime I talk to foreigners in English fluently, others will envy me. I have accumulated much more confidence because of persistent efforts. Normally, people will say, “Wow, your English is so good! How could you do it?” I will answer seriously by saying something like this — persistent practice plus appropriate methods. Several years ago, I believed persistence means success. But as time went on, I realized that persistence only can help you. It’s just like connecting the dots, as Steve Jobs once said. What you do today will decide who you are going to be tomorrow. I want to be a simultaneous interpreter. I admit it is a bold dream, but I have faith in my daily efforts, which are bringing me closer to my dream. Now, my first job is being a Business Representative in Shenzhen, although it is quite unrelated to being an interpreter. To be a translator or interpreter, you need to master a lot of skills — not just language skills. So I will always keep my dream in my mind, and protect it by daily learning, even though now I am working in foreign trade.

In fact, what I have said above is just a little part of my beliefs. I am 21 now. Diligence, persistence, and dream are the chief essence of my life. I am sure I will find more meaningful things in the future, all of which will definitely lead me to become a simultaneous interpreter.

I am Trans Li. My dream is to be an outstanding simultaneous interpreter. I will persist in the pursuit of my dream with strenuous efforts. To live my dream, that is my lifelong promise to myself.

— Trans Li DongLing 李冬凌

* A simultaneous interpreter is someone who relays — on the fly — what someone says in one language into another language for a listener. These are the people who work behind the scenes at the United Nations, or who sit next to heads of state during high level meetings. It’s a demanding job and those who qualify for it are deservedly very well paid.

** This is the Chinese sense of “face,” which is akin to one’s self-respect and standing in relation to others.

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