Xinxin (Frona) Wan

In the autumn of 2019, I embarked on a journey to Australia with dreams in my eyes and a backpack full of aspirations. Little did I know that my adventure would unfold amidst a backdrop of unprecedented challenges. In the first semester, I enjoyed a rich campus life, filled with bustling students and lively events. However, destiny had other plans. The world was grappling with a relentless pandemic, and I found myself in a ghost town. Sydney, once vibrant, now echoed with emptiness. The streets were desolate, and the campus was eerily quiet. My university, like many others, had transitioned to online learning, leaving me to navigate my studies alone.

I could not help but label myself as a member of the “epidemic generation.” Those who travelled from a third country in order to come back to Australia for online study. It is hard to recall how I managed to live in a shared apartment, cook my own meals, stay committed to my studies, and begin reaching out to professors to work on my research proposal, fueled by the dream of pursuing a PhD.

The application process went smoothly, and the six-month journey of conceiving the research proposal owes much to my good friends in the same class at the University of Sydney, as well as my tutors and professors. They generously devoted their precious time, even though the success of my application had remained uncertain.

Through these experiences, I gradually became aware that the potential difficulties faced by my fellow students were diverse; with the influence of my teachers and peers, I was enlightened by the immeasurable value of providing selfless assistance to others. It all began with me simply answering fellow students’ questions on social media, and over time, I evolved into a student representative. My aim was to share my insights into all aspects of life in Sydney with those around me. Starting in 2023, I also took on the role of a tutor, aspiring to instill in my students not only the academic knowledge that I had acquired at the university, but most importantly, the virtues of diligence, a willingness to assist others, and unwavering perseverance that I had learned from my peers and teachers. I genuinely believe these are the invaluable assets I gained during my days at the University of Sydney, and they will remain steadfast in me, serving as my guiding arrows in life’s battles.

It’s been nearly five years since I first set foot in Australia. The passage of time has allowed me to nurture my most precious assets: a close-knit circle of friends, like-minded colleagues, and most importantly, a more consistent and mature version of myself.

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