Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tips and Tricks for Settling into Life at the HNC

With orientation week underway for the HNC students, our student blogger, Nanfei, has some advice for starting off the new academic year. 

Hi All,

It’s back to school at the HNC, so I’ve gathered the thoughts of last year’s students into a compilation of tips and tricks to HNC Happiness!
  • Get to know the people. When asked about what they will remember the most, HNC graduates all highlighted the people. The distinct campus environment of the HNC allows students to form lifelong relationships with students, faculty, and staff (if your professor is sitting by themself in the cafeteria, that’s likely an open invitation). Everyone has a story, make sure you hear it! 
2014-2015 HNC students at commencement
  • Six classes might be too much. In addition to academic classes, the HNC offers extracurricular cultural classes (e.g. erhu and calligraphy), mini-classes (e.g. US-China Cross Border Banking), school field trips (e.g. strawberry picking), employer presentations (e.g. Apple), and more. The faculty is great, but the HNC is much more than just coursework.

  • Find your place. While the lounge-library dichotomy is popular for students interlacing social life with studying, I recommend you to explore all the places in between. The 5th floor space connects to a patio and is open 24/7. The calligraphy room promotes casual zen to anyone looking for live background music courtesy of the adjacent piano room. Switch it up and don’t be afraid to go off-campus!

  • HNC students strawberry picking on a field trip
  • Do something new. There’s a nothing-to-lose mentality that expats are surely familiar with. One student picked up touch rugby despite having never touched rugby before in her life. I took up boxing and erhu. Other students entered the local stand-up comedy scene. The HNC represents the start of a new chapter, so commemorate it with something new.  
  • Diversify your food portfolio. Weekday lunch is the best meal in the cafeteria, followed by weekday breakfast, followed by weekend breakfast. Supplement this with the Nanjing University cafeteria, local eateries, and trips to the import stores. Ask the 2nd year MA students about weekend brunch deals, buy-one-get-one-free burger nights, and snacks to order off taobao.

  • Calligraphy class at the HNC
  • Share. If you’re making eggnog, share it in the lounge. If your parents sent you a care package, share it with your friends. If you found a good article, share it on Wechat. It goes without saying that sharing is caring. However, sharing your life at the HNC exposes others to your personality and perhaps more importantly, your culture.                                                                                          

Written by Nanfei Yan, HNC Certificate/SAIS MA Student