Saying no to “Shallowness” in an era of “Knowing All”

Dear Students,

Putting on a mortarboard means the successful culmination of your study, launching a new journey from the campus towards society. Whether you continue your study in other parts of the world or march productively into society, this is a personal milestone to be commemorated. As I express my sincere congratulations to you, I hope some of my advice could be of assistance to your future.

Since ancient times, the main goal of education has been to eliminate ignorance. But modern web-based technology and its derivative products have made ignorance obsolete – through “Google” and “Baidu” we can learn almost anything! The era of “knowledge” has become practically an era of “knowing all.” This can lead one to become shallow, stuck in a state of knowing things, but being uncertain about what that knowledge means.

I hope everyone here will avoid becoming merely a “Google” or “Baidu” graduate. Don’t be satisfied with just knowing! Don’t be satisfied with just the facts but also know the reasons behind them. Pursue true knowledge and authentic understanding throughout your lives. Say NO to shallowness!

First of all, practice the research-led study you have learned here at XJTLU. Stay apt at observation, and good at asking important questions. Starting from the phenomenon, question and task, dig into the root of the matter. You will not only acquire true knowledge, but also augment your ability to interpret phenomenon, solve problems, and take on crucial challenges throughout your life.

Next, do not copy or repeat others. Through this you will increase your capacity for independent judgement and creative problem solving. This way you can develop your own opinions and discoveries, and even make innovative and creative contributions.

Thirdly, be clear about and create your own value to your family, organization and society. To create value, you need to make the best of something that you are interested in, know-how. You will then be able to fight for the right and space of your survival because of the value you have created for yourself.

Lastly, while in the era of “knowing all” it is quite easy to expand the breadth of knowledge. Mastering your research-led learning will help you raise the depth of your knowledge and acquire unique skills to stand firm in the face of fierce competition. You can always find something to learn from the people around you. Never cease learning, accumulating knowledge and reflecting on what you have learnt. Be strong in practices with theoretical support, and be good at theoretical conclusions based on practices. Persistent accumulation of life experiences will increase the height of your knowledge. The breadth, depth and height of your knowledge can improve your attainments and allow you to achieve greatness.

As I have emphasized since you first entered the University, a degree is not the ultimate goal of your education; it’s just a bi-product of learning. What benefits your life is the learning ability you have acquired here and the cultivation of your dreams. You developed from a ‘teenager’ into a young adult, then into a global citizen. You progressed from “becoming interested” to “delving into your interests,” and then creating a stage where you can show your abilities to the world.

If your perspective is shallow, the future will be unpredictable, making you feel frightened. If your perspective is deep, the future will unfold with unusual brilliance. I hope that research-led learning can help you to become “deeper,” growing wings to pursue your dream. Life-long learning ability will become the arm to pull you out of abyss when you fall into a helpless situation.

Looking back on the past few years, witnessing your rapid development, my feelings overwhelm me. Your feelings may be even more complex than mine. At the opening ceremony in 2011, I said “XJTLU can provide you a stage as big as your heart is”. I hope that you made full use of the resources offered by XJTLU. Have you come closer to your dream? Have you developed even bigger dreams?

Life is a journey - you met your friends and classmates at XJTLU a few years ago, and now it’s time to wave good-bye.

Please remember, no matter how splendid and grand the outside is, at moments when you fight one goal after another, just take a look over your shoulder occasionally. XJTLU will always be standing quietly behind you, giving you encouragement every time when you fall down and cheering you for every time you succeed. As your alma mater, XJTLU and what you have learned here will continue to guide you as you explore the world.

Let’s encourage each other in this era of “knowing all”. Say NO to shallowness, do not simply copy, be not satisfied with just knowing or blindly following the majority. Rather, dare to act independently! Let’s not sabotage ourselves into mediocrity and lose the opportunity for growth. We should not stop at “knowing” things without real knowledge, ultimately accomplishing nothing. With the depth and attainments that XJTLU can offer, we can achieve greatness!

Best wishes to you all!

Professor Youmin Xi

Executive President of XJTLU

Pro-Vice-Chancellor of University of Liverpool, UK

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