Be Your Best Selves——The Speech Delivered by President Yang Canming in the Opening Ceremony For the First-years of 2018


Dear students, distinguished teachers and military training instructors,

Good morning!

Today, the grand Opening Ceremony for first-years of 2018 is held here. First of all, on behalf of all my colleagues, and students, I extend a warm welcome to the new hosts and hostesses of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, and express my sincere thanks and respects to the parents and teachers who havedevoted so muchin your growth and development because their dedication as well as your hard-work contributes to our gathering today. In the meantime, I want to show my great respect and heartfelt thanks to all the training instructors from Naval University of Engineering who are about to lead youin the coming military training!

You must be able to give many reasons that you have chosen Zhongnan University of Economics and Law after having done many research abouther. However, only when you know where she comes from and where she will lead you, can you truly understand the connotation and the vitality of the 70-year old University which will become your spiritual home and a stage for your development, and better fit inhere.

70 years ago, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law was born during the period of  Liberation War with revolutionary consciousness, aiming at serving our motherland and making contributions to the whole society. As this year is the 70th anniversary of the foundation of our University, we are holding a series of academic and cultural celebration activities and inviting our alumni back as a way to remind us to remain true to our original aspiration and continue to march forward. Taking the chance of being listed in the “List of Double First-Class  Colleges and Universities Construction”, the Universitywill forge ahead for future with well-defined goals. You are the first  students enrolled after this event, so your participation and help will play a significant role in the University’s   achievement of thegoal of being a “Double First-Class University”. I’m looking forward to seeing that all of you, along with ZUEL, make further progress with your excellent achievements and all-round development.

As Maslow said, “ Education is to make a person into the best version of himself.” University life is crucial for a person to shape his outlook on world, life, and value. In the next few years, you will have plenty of time to acquire knowledge, discover all kinds of possibilities, explore a new world and develop in an all-around way to become your best selves. Now, I want to talk about what’s expected of all of you.

First of all, I expect you to devote sorely to your intellectual and scholarly work, and try your best to broaden your horizons. As General Secretary Xi Jinping mentioned in the “Accumulator Theory”, the time when people only had to charge themselves once in their whole lives has already passed; now only when we become an efficient  accumulator which can be charged constantly, can we release our energy continuously. We now live in an age when knowledge and information update so rapidly that we can not keep  pace of the times unless we learn  autonomously, assiduously and for a lifelong time, and change learning from a  requirement into a lifestyle. You should focus on professional knowledge, of course, but what shall not be ignored is the importance of reading both ancient and present, domestic and foreign classics in both humanistic and social science field and natural science field in order to make breakthroughs after accumulating profound knowledge. You should not rush to make education pay off, or just swallow the knowledge without a second thoughtwhen pursuingyour studies; instead, you should slow down to deepen and expand your expertise. “Talents are cultivated by learning, just like blades are sharpened by grinding.” Study learning methods as well as knowledge itself, pay attention to accumulating and updating knowledge to form good learning habits, comprehensive knowledge systems and rich knowledge reserves,andseek your true interests and happiness in learning so that you will be capable in any fields. I hope you can find the key to the door to a higher state of life by appreciating the greatness of the world from the tininess of our individuals and allowing your curiosity and reverence to lead you to explore new areas of knowledge.

Second, I expect you topossess critical thinking ability and sensible insights. In our day when new phenomena and new things emerge in endlessly, and different views and opinions come up one after another,all of you, as college students, should keep a conscious mind, vigilant attitude and good judging ability to see the world with your own insights and think independently; you should analyze problems and explain phenomena from different perspectives, and distinguish good from bad; never be biased, flattery or be a pushover. As Einstein once said, “The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.” The rapid development of “Internet plus” and artificial intelligence not only provides multiple and efficient ways for us to acquire knowledge which we can approach but never really control, so we should change our thinking mode from simple memorizing into positive critical thinking. No matter what area you will be specializing in, don’t be afraid to ask questions that shake the foundation of the common sense and to rebuild them again with new answers.Only in this way can you eliminate the impediments to learning, get profound understandings of it and truly gain something.

Third, I expect you to be optimistic and strong-minded when facing adversities. Marx, the great well-known ideologist and proletarian revolutionist, endured poverty and the persecution from the  bourgeois government when he started to write Das Kapital. However, he finally spared no effort to finish this influential scientific work with the firm belief and fearless actions to overcome all the difficulties, refusing to give up. “Those who had great aspirations in the past must have possessed perseverance as well as transcendental talents.” As we grow up in our life, we will inevitably come across all kinds of new challenges or even adversities. Dear students, only by facing them bravely and handle them properly can you really get reborn. Don’t let trouble hurt you, reverse your adversities with a positive attitude, a rational analysis and an appropriate disposal. There’s an old saying, “Those who overcome weakness are powerful, and those who pursue self-improvement come out victors.” This is what we call “Adversity Quotient”. The strong are not born this way. Instead, they try to make their waysamid struggling and fightingwith difficulties. You are still young enough to enjoy remarkable promise in your future. Take every adversity as a valuable chance for learning. Never fear, never give up and never complain. Instead, face it, accept it and defeat it. You will achieve much more than you can imagine.

Finally, I expect you to love yourselves and enrich your lives. Socrates considered “know yourself” as a manifesto of his philosophical principle. On the one hand, everyone is unique. The process of knowing yourself is the process of mental maturity. Accept yourselves joyfully, admit your flaws,  shape a positive attitude and keep a sound mind by continuously improving yourselves, so you can be your best selves. On the other hand, nobody is individual. From the time we were born, or even before, we have built countless connections with other people and the society. “If you want to go fast, walk alone; and if you want to go far, walk together.” “If you want to be weak, work alone; if you want to be strong, work together.” Growth doesn’t  mean you should only know yourselves; what’s more important is to seek out a wide variety of friends and associates. Accord each person the dignity and recognition they deserve;treat everyone you meet with a sincere, appreciative and mutual-learning attitude;learn to listen to others, to exchange ideas freely and to make cooperation. Then you will gain the respect from others, as well as like-minded friends and happiness from win-win. In your study and daily life, learn to integrate yourselves into the collective, cooperate with others sincerely, prioritize common development regardless of immediate gains and losses so that you will make further progress with more support and strength.

Dear students, “Struggle is the keyword of young people.” Today, you have opened a new chapter in your life here in ZUEL, heading for new goals. The University will try her best to guide you, encourage you and support you by building a stage for all of you to improve yourselves and achieve your dreams. I expect each of you to struggle for your dreams with a commitment in your hearts, building the future we hope to see and becoming your best selves !

Thank you!