Author: Lauren Hilton, April 10, 2019
Growing up as a small shy girl in inner China made Lucy Chen have a unique perspective on life. Lucy paid a lot of attention to people’s verbal and nonverbal languages trying to figure out what people are thinking. She was quite observant because she basically had to raise herself. Her family owns a small town business so they were always busy. She had a lot of freedom as a little girl. “Because of the freedom that I had, I developed a very adventurous personality.”(spoken like a true Minerva)
She enjoyed creating things and having a big imagination for things and people of the world. Her parents always knew that she was gifted, and they valued her getting a good education because they did not have one. Neither parent graduated from high school, so they had to go to inner China where she happened to be born to spark their careers as business owners. Lucy describes them as “entrepreneurs from lost generation,” because at the time there wasn’t a lot of open opportunities. “I learned to be humble and respectful because of how hard my parents worked and the people they worked for, but here was also a since of rebellion in that as well, because sometimes I just wanted them to break free from all their hard work and spend more time with me give me more guidance. I grew up so quiet and independent because of that.” That longing for guidance kind of pushed Lucy to be empathetic and to receive guidance from great people that she has met.
Lucy’s sensitivity to people made her a very successful student at Minerva College. She joined Minerva in December 2013 as a “first class” student. “I read about the school in an article. My professor said that it sounded like a good dream that was never going to happen because of the hardship that was going to face.” She began to question herself if this was really the school for her. “When I made the decision to attend Minerva, my classmates and parents thought I was crazy and reckless: leaving a top liberal arts college to go to a new and largely unknown school. However, after really probing into its curricular design, diverse activities, and global residency, I was convinced that this was the place for me.”
After long hours of studying and creating passionate projects, Lucy has left quite the impression on her colleagues and professors. “I am so lucky to be attracted to such an adventurous model. Secondly, I have worked on a lot of self initiated projects that have a purpose and I put a lot of thought into them and having that passion and purpose sort of lines up with being an minervan.” There is a lot of research and time development behind Chen’s work. Sometimes, it took up to a year to complete a project she was working on. She sometimes traveled to a different country just interview a person or she engaged in the actual traditions and rituals of a certain culture of people to sort of gain the experience of what she is interested in. Lucy learned from watching her parents work so hard to push beyond what is expected.
One of her most memorable assignments, was when she was told to create a student hand book for students to better understand how to utilize online courses. “It started off as a simple project of making a student handbook. We actually ended up with a 12 hour long nook from writing a script to production. And now 100’s off student in kharan are using it to better understand online courses.” At Minerva College, they want their students to spend a lot of time learning about the projects before they began to create. “They really try to teach us the spirit of empathy when doing these projects. The goal is to really understand it and share it with others so that it may make a big impact in the world.”
With such a school of high expectations from it’s students, it is important to prioritize so that you can have that balance of learning and having fun. “A mentor actually once told me, be aware of your intentions and think about why you are doing things, the purpose behind it so that you can make important things more important. Also have discipline, but I just try to not take life so serious.”
If Lucy could give advice to the generation behind her that want to attend Minerva or a school with high standards is to have different passions and explore. “You don’t have to be a perfectionist at what you do for it to be considered your passion. But If you enjoy it, and work hard at it that is having passion for it.”She continues to say, “I put pressure on myself when I first came to Minerva to go to the best school, but when you really think about it, what is the best school? It can be the best school to you because that is where you chose to go. Life is all about choices. Put enough thought into it before you do it. Give yourself time before you decide to it.”
Lucy Chen is not just a very successful student from a successful college. She stands out and is noticed for her diligence and highly detailed work. Behind all of that greatness, she has a story to tell from being a little shy but adventurous girl growing up in China. She is a voice for all of the youth to turn their loneliness and longing for something into passionate artwork.
Want to hear the whole story about Lucy on our podcast? Check out Lucy Chen’s episode on SoundCloud.