Article by Dillon Young, Est Zhong, and Nicole Garzaro
It’s no surprise that senior students experience stress. Their coursework is more difficult than ever, they have pressures of what they will do for work upon graduation, and they fear what life will be like away from all the people they have been with for so many years. Understanding why seniors experience stress will help you put stressors into perspective or help someone you know who has such stress. This time we had the privilege of talking with one of those busy seniors, Shubin Ma, who is also an international student from China.
Shubin majors in Digital Media, but in fact, her parents once wanted her to study engineering. After taking some engineering classes, she felt bored and decided to switch the engineering major out for her current one. “This major (Digital Media) teaches you to express yourself in a variety of ways,” said Shubin. She admires and desires artistic creation more since art has no restriction. One of her favorite classes was Independent Studio. This class allows students to do anything about art and exercise time management skills. She had been enjoying freedom and the sense of accomplishment this class brought to her.
However, it was her senior year that she really started to dig into the deeper level of the major. “I think my learning path is very vague.”—These were Shubin’s first words when we asked her about how she feels graduating in a few short months. Because of school policy and professors’ retirement, She had three different advisers throughout her study in GU. “All the teachers in my major have changed when my senior year started”, “Every adviser’s educational model and requirements are different”, said Shubin. She feels like her classes ended almost as soon as she had just learned the basics, including, but not limited to, coding, drawing, photography, and softwares. She even thinks that these setbacks lead to her lack of deep understanding in the major more or less.
Her last semester was the first time she really realized the importance of originality. Because she had very little experience in drawing, it has always been challenging for her to fully express the ideas she has in her mind. Therefore, she had to practice “The Bringing Principle” for most of her projects, which emphasizes the collection and recombination of graphic materials, even though she did not really want to. “I could have been practicing drawing every day for three years if I had known from the beginning how much I really need the drawing skill”, Shubin said regretfully. But hearteningly, her professors have been providing her ways to independently learn and practice drawing, and recently she has even started to post some original illustrations on social media.
Now Shubin is doing an internship at University Pathways. Her main task is to plan, organize, publicize, host student activities, and rally Asian students. Off-campus, she is also taking freelance jobs on App Discord. She draws and edits pictures and videos, as requested by her clients. Unfortunately, although she does want to continue her studies, her parents are not going to be able to help her pay for graduate school. Financially, she will have to be totally on her own if she eventually decides to continue her study.
Regardless, whatever her future may have in store, Shubin just wants to take a good trip after her graduation when thinking about her short-term plan. “I haven’t yet (gone) anywhere else to enjoy a different scenery and relax of course”, Shubin laughed, and her eyes were filled with expectation.