Spring 2013

Jen-Ai Lai

Schulich Leader at University of British Columbia

I have always thought that a university should have trees. Neither books nor grand buildings, but trees. Just trees. Lots and lots of trees.

Over the past eight months, I have come to discover that UBC is one such university, filled with trees –trees whose roots grow deep, and branches reach high.

Like seeds blown by the wind, setting roots in a new environment with new faces and new ways of learning can be a difficult process. First semester was a whirlwind of new experiences, both with highs and lows. As young saplings, it is easy enough to get knocked over by even the slightest of breezes or bitten by sharp frosts. Midterms, papers and exams fly at you quickly and can be a humbling experience despite the amount of time and effort you have poured into the course. But as time goes on, harsh elements make roots grow stronger and deeper as they search for different ways to approach problems and manage time. New branches develop from being exposed to innovative ideas by passionate professors, trying new extracurricular activities. As second semester proceeded, I decided to branch-out and talk to more people. In addition to academics and the previous outside activities, I became involved as an executive member with UBC’s Reality Club (a club which aims to spread awa reness about Taiwanese culture) and prepared my summer abroad, as a volunteer responsible for providing medical education and services in remote areas China and Taiwan.

All around me here at UBC, I see beautiful trees. Trees that have started from tiny seeds carried to this place by winds from all corners of the earth; each unique and inspirational. Trees whose roots grow deep and branches reach high.
And I look forward to nourishing mine and watching it grow, as a Schulich Leader in second year.