Skip to Main Content

Living Library: 28th

Living Library

Living Books

Yizhou Wang & Yakun Tang

Choice and Persistence

Alumni/DPhil student in Department of Oncology, University of Oxford; PhD student in Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge

Time flies. We are lucky that we still have each other.

We were classmates in Department of Biological Sciences of XJTLU. We’ve been together for almost 6 years. We chose to do a PhD because we both love science and we are keen to find something fascinating in the biological research. We’ve had tons of moments worrying about our projects and the experiments but one thing that keeps us going is the support and encouragement from each other. We are in long-distance relationship but we have similar goals.

It is important to make decision and stick to it.

Making the “right” decisions can sometimes be more important than working hard. Choosing a career that you love, choosing friends and partner who are willing to do silly things with you would all make the life more meaningful. For us, when we meet problems in studies, we also complain about the subject and research area we choose. However, every road has ups and downs. We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.

XJTLU to us

For most of people, self-study begins from university. Compared with other universities, we think XJTLU is a brilliant place to study. First-class staff and equipment, and the research-led teaching inspired our interest in academic study. We are very happy to share more about our university time, as well how we chose the research area we wanted to study.

Coco Zhili Zhao

Find Yourself, Follow Your Heart, Avoid Getting Lost

Year4 Marketing  

Internship & Entrepreneur/Academic Scholarship/Junior Gap Year/CIDESCO International Beauty Therapist/Founder of Coco Beauty Studio

In the four years of XJTLU, the word I heard most is LOST, lost in their own now, lost in the unknown future. During the best four years of your life, how can you reduce uncertainty periods and actively explore yourself?

Therefore, Coco will share her experiences and the decisions she has made in XJTLU, including major choice, Gap Year experience, internships, entrepreneurship, and so on. To help the younger students avoid from being “Lost”; and spend a meaningful and “no regrets” College life.

Qizi Ju

Perseverance as the Force, and Time as the Weapon

2020 Biological Science Graduate in a First-class Honors Degree

Professional member of China Guitar Association/World music competition champion/GUEST of TEDx show/Flamenco guitarist/National professional fitness instructor/Dietician/ Offered by Imperial College Research Master/Biological research & teaching assistant /Students in XJTLU  2020

In the four years at school, he experienced being a new freshman with a weak foundation to graduating with a first-class honors degree with an average score of 80+ in the Department of Biological Science. He was offered palaces to Imperial College London for a research master's program, University College London, University of Edinburgh, etc. He was selected for XJTLU student story 2020. Outside of the school, he became a dietitian from a highly obese person weighing 121.5 kg, losing 50 kg, and gaining 10 kg muscle. He also became a nutritionist and was admitted to the National Sports Administration as a professional fitness coach. From zero basic music skills, he went to Spain to learn from masters. He won the guitar champion of the world performance competition and has performed more than 40 times at home and abroad. He launched a music education company, won the best teacher award in an international competition, and founded the orchestra to perform adaptations...

He used his willpower, bravery, and time as instruments to cut out an incredible piece of life. Everyone talks about time management, self-discipline, but does it mean that we must become penance? And how did he interpret this theme with his dedication all the way?



Yuhan Jiang

Talk to Your World

Alumni /Master in Quantitative Finance in ETH UZH/traveler/

We need dreams, just as travelers need somewhere settling down and destinations

We always have to go towards our dreams step by step.  Therefore, in our journey, the goal of each stage is always particularly important. As a freshman, I wanted colorful college life. As a sophomore, I learned more about academy and scientific research with my teachers. As a junior, I worked hard to achieve results. As a senior, I needed a master’s degree that fits my mind. We need to determine the current direction according to a goal, and then we can achieve our dream in the end.

In our lives, down-to-earth and hard work are the most important

I used to waste time because of procrastination. I cried and gave up because I couldn't learn well. And I regretted the ‘lazy cancer’. We are all ordinary dream-seeking teenagers. You and I have common shortcomings. Then how can we defeat ourselves and get what we want? I think we have to stand up even if we fall. I think as long as you start to work hard, everything will be in time.

We need to find some hobbies to enrich our lives

I like to travel, since it will open my mind.  I like writing and reading, the biggest reason is that this is the best way to be alone with myself.  I like volunteer activities, which makes me feel that I am a useful person and also allows me to experience a different life.We all have different things that we like to do, no matter what it is, it will bring us fun and joy. Today I also want to talk about how I will enrich myself with what I like to do and get a win-win situation.

Yanning Huang

Passionate about teaching, cooking, and leading an eco-friendly life

Assistant Professor, Department of Media and Communication

For the Sake of the Earth and One’s Own Well-being, Let There Be a Little Bit Trouble

It’s time for a meal. A white-collar worker, as usual, orders some takeaway food via an APP. Then a delivery man (or woman) strains every nerve to make sure the food reaches the white-collar worker as soon as possible, before it is judged as too late by the algorithm of the APP. The white-collar worker probably finishes the meal as fast as possible too, gluing his/her eyes to a computer or smartphone screen; there’s more work to be done after the meal. Where will the plastic packing end up, and how is it to be dealt with? Most of us are too busy to reflect on these questions. Our lives have become unprecedentedly convenient thanks to technological development. Yet, convenience also turns our lives increasingly fast-paced while we sometimes don’t even know what this fast-pacing is for.

How to find a certain degree of personal peace in this convenient and fast society? We probably need to reflect critically on convenience itself and take the initiative to take some trouble. Cook or eat in, rather than ordering takeaway food; go shopping on-site rather than buying everything online; reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics… In my talk, I will share with you how and why I seek to make my life a bit troublesome in the past few years.

Xueye Ping

Everything Happens for the Best

Applied mathematics/Master in Mathematical and Computational Finance in Oxford/Photography, Travelling, Food, Fitness enthusiast

She was awarded the Academic Excellence Scholarship and Liverpool Scholarship, and she was named the school's three best students. In the summer of the sophomore year, she followed Prof Jionglong Su to do time-series related projects and published conference paper on IEEE. Finally, she got master's offers from Oxford University, Imperial College, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago and other prestigious universities.

Explore world of mathematics and find future self

I have liked mathematics very much since I was a child, and finally determined to switch to science depart. From Prof Lin's "Mathematics History Classroom" to Alejandro's mathematical analysis, mathematics to me is like a Pandora's box, with curiosity and anxiety to open its surprising intrinsity one after another. Gradually, I became more and more determined in my pursuit of mathematics, and because of this, I hope to explore more possibilities in the world of mathematics at the undergraduate level and find my future self.

Plan indicates orientation, we just need to move forward

From giving up the US undergraduate offer four years ago to giving up the US postgraduate offer four years later, it seems that I have only passed by with US. Sometimes I feel that I have spent so much useless energy, but when you think about it carefully, only through experience are there more possibilities, and only through hard work will there be no regrets. Opportunities are always reserved for those who are prepared, and more experience will enrich their choices. Plan is the direction, the actual situation may incur variations, and what we have to do is to keep moving in the direction of the goal.

Xiang 'Dynasty' Li

An Undergrad's Academic Plan

Year 3 Information and Computing Science

Human-Computer Interaction / Undergrad Researcher / Opportunities Collector

I have been a research assistant in the X-CHI Lab of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University since 2019 summer. I also joined the Exertion Games Lab of Monash University as a research intern in the summer of 2020 . I have 5 papers that have been published in the top-tier conferences (IEEE/ACM/EI) and journals (SCI) and indexed by Google Scholar. For me, research means that the knowledge no longer resides in lecture tutorials but requires a self-exploration of new technologies that have never been explored before in the field of human-computer interaction. Why do I want to do research? How do I choose research during my undergraduate studies? Want to know about further education and career planning? Join Living Library, and let's discuss planning for academic development for undergraduates!



Haoyuan Yang

Life is about Trying

MSc Media and Communication

Media Worker/ Director /Artist Publicity/Travel Lover

When I turned 30, I chose to restart my life. When my friends chose to go out into the world and accumulate wealth, I decided to grow my understanding of the world around me by going back to school. In the last few years, I have classified myself as a journalist. I carried cameras, interviewed many unique and exciting people, and cut the interviews into films to inform and entertain the world.  The most exciting thing I have done in my career was I compared leg length with Karen Mok.  My philosophy is that work is for a better life. My life is aways on the road and Turkey has left me the deepest impression where I was robbed by a taxi driver. Repeated restart is what others think of me. I believe that life is about trying so that you can find out who you really are.


Library Event: Living Library Session I Held Successfully

The first session of Living Library was successfully held online by XJTLU Library on the evening of 17 November. The theme of this session was Dreams Become Reality – Life in Super Elite Universities. In this event, we were fortunate to have three alumni as Living Books (guest speakers). They shared their thoughts on topics including dreams, hobbies and persistence. A total of 160 people participated in the webinar.


In the first part of the webinar, the Living Books gave a speech to the audience. Yakun Tang, PhD student at University of Cambridge, shared her story of how she chosen her major and how she persisted in working on it. Xueye Ping, currently studying at Oxford University, talked about her daily life at Oxford and her plans for her academic career, and encouraged XJTLU students to find what they really love to do and make plans for that. Hanyu Jiang, student at ETHZ, gave her suggestions to the audience on what they should do during four years at XJTLU, including setting goals, overcoming difficulties and developing hobbies.


In the second part, the audience had a chance to ask questions to the Living Books. Their questions covered a wide range of topics such as what preparations should be done for top university applications, differences between universities in the UK and the US, and how to strike a balance between study and entertainment. The Living Books shared their opinions on these questions and gave advices to the audience according to their experience.


“This is the second time that I take part in Living Library Webinar. It is of great help to hear the stories of the outstanding alumni. Thanks to Living Library, I has become more and more confident in the future study and career planning.” Said Cai, Year 2 student in department of Applied Mathematics.


Library Event: Living Library Session II Is a Success

On 1 December 2020, Living Library Session II was held successfully at 123W in the Central Building.


In the second session, we invited five LIVING BOOKS, namely environmentalist Yanning Huang, experimenter Haoyuan Yang, slash youth Qizi Ju, entrepreneur Zhili Zhao, and Xiang Li, who devoted himself to scientific research at an early age. They shared their life experiences and ideals with us face to face, encouraging us to learn, to treat life calmly and peacefully with a better attitude.


“From excrement to trash to toxic waste, we live with the illusion that refuse can be made to disappear or, with the push of a button, be magically flushed away.” Yanning Huang showed us a photo he took at the entrance of a teaching building filled with express delivery. It could be seen that we were producing massive quantities of garbage while enjoying a convenient life. What we didn't realize was the damage the trash would cause to the environment. Huang called on everyone to choose to have slight inconveniences in our life: reduce online shopping and go to physical stores to buy things, repeatedly use plastic bags and plastic lunch boxes, bring glass lunch boxes to pack food, and choose dine-in or cook by yourself.


“Life is full of ups and downs.” Haoyuan Yang said. His story was about social anxiety, losing oneself, and character set. As a media worker, he interviewed many celebrities. These past experiences were what he used to be proud of. However, it was these experiences that once plunged him into social anxiety. In the current era, we check Moments and post on Moments every day or even every hour. Once we indulge in virtual applause, we tend to lose ourselves. Therefore, through reflection, Yang told everyone that to find inner tranquility, we needed to try more and even make some mistakes.


At the age of eighteen or nineteen, are you a person who follows your heart? Or will your decisions be influenced by people around you? Year 4 student Zhili Zhao encouraged us by her own experience to try hard to follow our hearts and do what we genuinely love. She decided to take a gap year to study beauty when she was a junior. Later she founded a beauty studio and gradually became an elite in the industry.


The guest speakers' insights and experiences have greatly helped the audience, guiding them to reflect on their current life and look forward to the future. Hopefully, everyone will complete their journey of university life with a more explicit purpose and more determination.


Webinar Playback

Living Library Webinar | Dreams Become Reality—Life in Super Elite Universities

Living Library | Growth and Change– From Scholarship to Entrepreneurship, From Finding Yourself to Protecting the Earth