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The Happiness of Learning

---Speech of Zheng Zhi at 2022 Graduation Ceremony of Xinya College

Zhi ZhengMajor in CDIE

Dear teachers, and fellow students:

I am Zheng Zhi from the CDIE major of Xinya College. It is my great honor to speak as the representative of CDIE graduates. I came to this college five years ago. How time flies! Now has come the last moment of my graduation. The concepts of “liberal arts” and “interdisciplinary”, which were once novel and unfamiliar to me, have accompanied me through the entire undergraduate period. It's hard to say how excellent I have become, but I do feel that I am different because of the two concepts. Looking back at my life in the past five years, even though now I feel fulfilled and satisfied, I was not always at ease along the way, and my undergraduate life always seemed to be full of doubts.

A photo of CDIE students

When I came to Xinya and chose the major CDIE, my relatives and friends were confused, and they kept asking me: What are you studying? Is it useful? Actually, at the beginning, we ourselves might not be clear, and we only gave some vague answers first, and then turned to our teachers for help. I myself also kept asking the similar questions in mind: What does Xinya's liberal arts mean to us? For the science and engineering major that I want to study, why should I read those tricky books of liberal arts? Why are we still in a confused state in the classes of liberal arts while students from other departments are well-prepared to enter the laboratory for scientific research? Is this meaningful?

However, when I was still unable to answer the above questions, I stepped into another zone with greater confusion—the interdisciplinary field. What does “design” mean? What is the significance of combining design with engineering? Will we really gain an advantage merely through the brief dip into so many disciplines? Where is our position from engineering to design?

I spent my undergraduate time with these doubts in mind, and now I might be able to answer these questions, more or less, after five years of pondering in both my study and life. When I first entered the university, even the course "The Way of University" was insufficient to enlighten the dull-witted me. However, after completing all the credits of liberal arts, I gradually gained a deeper understanding of it. I realized that learning itself can be the purpose of learning because it is fun enough. Every subject and field can be interesting. If we find it boring, it does not mean that it is really boring; Instead, it only means that we haven't discovered a way to appreciate it.

The core of every course is not about the knowledge itself, but about the discovery of the way to joy. With this thought in mind, I would also be willing to taste those things that might not appear in my classes—I will listen to the music that I would never have heard of, and I will go to watch the performance that I would never have seen, from which I will get the spiritual satisfaction and the everlasting curiosity.

"When I have time in the future, I must read this book carefully, and I must learn this". Although we might never have time to really take actions, it is these things, which we want to do but have not done yet, that keep stirring up our expectation for the future. Maybe, in terms of liberal arts, different people have different ideas. But the liberal arts in my mind have special meaning to me.

The exhibition of the works of CDIE students

By attempting to answer these questions, we become more and more mentally mature. And our change in the past five years may be the answer to these questions. What kind of person have I become? If not in CDIE, if not in Xinya, what kind of person would I have been? I know that I have gradually come to enjoy wandering around in art galleries—the graphics and colors really excite me; I have gradually become sensitive to various kinds of products around me—it is very pleasant to appreciate their design, manufacturing or technical principles; also, in terms of scientific research, I come to realize the significance of awe for human beings in the field of human-computer interaction, rather than merely pursuing technological progress.

When I finally finished my project for graduation, I felt very satisfied since I was able to take into account the multiple aspects of my work, including its appearance, structure, interactive functions, etc. This quality is so precious to me that I would not make any change to my previous choice, even there were some regrets and dissatisfaction.

At the beginning, we couldn't predict what Xinya would bring to us, but thanks to it, we had a lot of unexpected changes. We might not be what we originally expect ourselves to be, but now at least we have grown into the kind of person that we are satisfied of.

Many problems have puzzled and tortured us, but now it is the end of undergraduate life. At this time of graduation, there may still be some unanswered questions. What kind of role will liberal arts and interdisciplinary learning play in our future development? In the past, we would turn to our teacher for help, but in the future, we will answer it by ourselves. Graduation does not mean the end, and we might not be able to fully recognize the deep influence of Xinya in the past four or five years. Maybe many years later, when reading a certain book, thinking of a certain person and making some certain choices, we will feel the real influence of Xinya upon us again and again, and we will certainly find better answers to those puzzling questions.

Finally, on behalf of the CDIE students, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the founders and pioneers of CDIE, and to the teachers from Academy of Arts&Design, Department of Automation, Department of Machinery, and the Future Lab. Thank you so much for your innovative ideas, friendly care and earnest guidance.

Moreover, I would also like to express my gratitude to those teachers from all the colleges and departments of Tsinghua University who have strong enthusiasm for education and bear the important duty of our country and civilization.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the counselors who accompanied us in the past, the seniors who generously taught me, and the classmates who helped me. Thank you all for your companion and thank our parents for their love and sacrifice.

That’s all, thank you!

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