The moment our class had been anxiously waiting for all week had finally arrived. The Singing competition was upon us. I found myself nervous, excited, and overall worried about my students. I knew they had tried so hard to perfect their song and dance and I knew they would be upset if they didn’t win. I expected my students to be filled with anxiety and nervousness the entire day of the competition but to my surprise they showed none of that. They were eerily calm and went about their day like they would any other. I couldn’t stop thinking to myself, how can they be so calm, we’ve been practicing for this all week. Then it hit me: These were the students who faced the GaoKao head on and beat the dreaded test. They rose to the top of all the students of China and beat insurmountable odds in the face of tremendous pressure. Compared to the GaoKao, what was a simple easy singing competition? To my pleasure the students exceeded my expectations and won the G province chorus competition with their rendition of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. Onto the Camp wide tournament next week, where I know I will be filled with even more nerves but my students will be calm, cool, and collected.
Time in Tsinghua goes so quickly it is hard to keep up with everything. Class from 9 – 11:40 every morning takes it out of you and leads to a nap from 12 – 1:30. Then a quick lunch, and more class from 2 – 4. Then after class is lesson planning, socializing with both students and fellow volunteers, trying to tour Beijing etc… It is EXHAUSTING. I am working as hard as I have ever worked before and I find myself losing track of time. Time is marked by moving from one activity to the next, not an hour on a clock. Between it all who even has time to think! This experience hasn’t just been unforgettable and memorable but it has so far been 2 of the most rewarding weeks of my life. All the work and results I am seeing from my students, the bonds and friendships I am making with fellow volunteers, the sights I am seeing, and the culture I am experiencing have made this a one of a kind experience to grow as a person and see change in yourself. I know this next final week will be even crazier and more hectic then the one before and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.
– Adam Goldfeder