UM scholars discuss how to achieve fruitful postgraduate life

Text & Photo: UM Reporter Gonzales Wu

What is the purpose of pursuing a postgraduate degree? Dean of Students Paul Pang recently invited various faculty deans and leading academic figures from the University of Macau (UM) to share their experiences and thoughts about how to be a good postgraduate student.

The title of this Dean of Students' Tea Series is ‘How to Achieve a Fruitful Postgraduate Life’. The speakers in the series included Wei Zhao, rector of UM; Lionel Ni, vice rector (academic affairs); Hong Gang Jin, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities; Deng Chuxia, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS); Ge Wei, associate dean of the FHS; and David Pong, master of Choi Kai Yau College.

I happened to be free on the days of Ni and Deng’s sharing sessions, so I attended their talks to learn more about their success stories.

Lionel Ni: Scientific Research Is a Most Delightful Thing

Ni started his talk with the memories of his primary school days. He then talked about his family background in Taiwan as well as his academic journey in the United States and Hong Kong. In particular, he mentioned how his family influenced him to make the decision to study in the US. He also explained the differences between a business mindset and an academic mindset by comparing how people market commercial software and academic software.

‘Make sure you know what you are doing. Your papers belong to you,’ said Ni when reminding postgraduate students not to completely rely on their professors in their studies. Ni also suggested that students should remain in contact with their advisers and maintain a good relationship with them even after graduation. He said that when hiring PhD graduates, he would contact their former advisers to ask their opinions of the candidates. He also stressed the importance of enjoying the company of other students if one intends to pursue a teaching career in the future. Finally, Ni said that scientific research is a most delightful thing in his life.

Chuxia Deng: Make a Plan and Write It Down

Deng explained his definition of ‘a fruitful postgraduate life’, and then discussed the qualities of a successful postgraduate student: passion, access to a good supervisor, hard work, and good luck. He said that a postgraduate student should not only make a clear plan for the future, but should also write down the plan. He asked the audience to think about where they want to be in five to ten years.

Deng then discussed his experiences of pursuing higher education. He mentioned that he left his home country for the US and encountered many difficulties during the six years of his PhD studies, including language barriers and an unfriendly working environment. He eventually overcame all the difficulties with the help of his strategies and plans, and received praises from his adviser for his diligence.

Deng believes that having ‘a big heart’ is crucial to achieving a successful postgraduate life. He advised the students to identify what they want to do and what they can do, know their strengths and weaknesses, and be prepared to encounter numerous setbacks and failures. In addition, he encouraged the students to always keep the graduation requirements in mind and make plans to complete them.

Source: Communications Office

Media Contact Information:
Communications Office, University of Macau

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Lionel Ni

Lionel Ni
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Chuxia Deng

Chuxia Deng
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