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在一段颠沛流离的生活后,我拿到了哥大的Offer | 申请季故事
2015-03-16 14:54:49 来源:全球院校库
导读:拿到了 offer,未来两年里,会在哥大念 MPA。写这篇文章,是专程为特别感谢一些帮助过我的人,也作为我这大半年申请经历的回顾和纪念。从

 

 

拿到了 offer,未来两年里,会在哥大念 MPA。

 

写这篇文章,是专程为特别感谢一些帮助过我的人,也作为我这大半年申请经历的回顾和纪念。

 

从《商业周刊/中文版》辞职的那一天,我一整晚没有睡觉,在我的黑方格笔记本上写了很多页辞职再次出国的 Pros&Cons,第二天早晨,我给我当时的编辑张娅发了一条约见当面辞职的微信,之后打电话给我妈,说,“妈,我已经辞职了。我要出国。”

 

我还记得那时候手上正在计划的公司选题包括麦当劳、双汇,还有新希望集团之类的,在笔记本的前一页,我密密麻麻地写着 To Do List:“和麦当劳公关 Owen 通电话”、“读关于万隆的特写报道”、“写麦当劳新菜单的采访提纲”、“去参加新希望的媒体沟通会”,上面画着已完成和未完成的小方框和小勾勾。不久之后,这些任务清单就被“背诵 4 个 GRE List”、“读 2 小时原文书”、”做 1 套模拟题“给取代了。

 

我还给汤姆写了一封邮件。

 

親愛的湯姆,

 

郵件裡看到你說你的手拉傷了,而且膝蓋也在痛,感覺好像最近你的身體不大好呀,不知道你怎麼樣了?一說到膝蓋痛,就想起你拿著特製的袋子敷冰塊的樣子,保重身體啊。我有剛剛郵寄一些大陸特產的茶葉給你,是雲南產的一些普洱、荷葉茶、小沱茶、滇紅和磚茶,讓你可以喝茶也可以偶爾換一換口味呀。

 

還有……我辭職了!

 

哈哈,这一個月心裡一直在想是不是要辭職。一個月前拿到了 LSE PhD 的 offer,在英國一直在申請的这個項目隔了這麼久,在我一次又一次軟磨硬泡下終於給了 offer,但是現在不太想要念博士了。現在辭職報了一個 GRE 班,打算重新申請一下美國,如果申請到了喜歡的學校和項目,就又有書可以念啦,如果沒有申請到想去的學校,明年年中說不定我就回到英國倫敦啦,哈哈。想起我們兩個當初的對話,果然一語成讖吧。

 

还在英国念硕士的时候,汤姆是我最好的朋友,以及值得信赖的兄长。汤姆做过的事每一件都不太一样:他拿到了台湾地区的体操金牌,又因伤退役,之后演过台湾偶像剧,在大学里教过书,去很多奇怪的国家念过三四个硕士,还是一家儿童体操馆的老板。

 

当时申请 LSE 被拒,我满心沮丧,准备回国找工作,每一天都在写邮件,寻找合适的工作机会。汤姆则刚好赶上申请去考冬奥会的体操项目评委资格,每天坐在桌子前对着电脑上的跳动着不同体操动作的小人写写画画。

 

我对汤姆说,”去一所喜欢的学校念书,这样的愿望大概一辈子我都没办法实现了。“汤姆则鼓励我说,”一辈子那么长,很多愿望不一定立刻实现,如果你真的想要做成一件事,兜兜转转,还是可以得到它。“我从来没有见过汤姆的得失心,他好像从来都没有为一件事而焦虑过,一切都兵来将挡,我却办不到。”

 

比方说我,受伤之后,我就彻底告别体操运动员生涯了,奥运会也没有机会参加过。但这么多年之后,虽然不能参加比赛,但体操还是我生活里最重要的部分。

 

“所以你想要去哪儿念书?”

 

“想去美国。”

 

“到底是哪儿?”

 

“要么去哈佛,要么去哥大。”

 

我一向对自己的决定斩钉截铁,在少数自我怀疑的时候,往往听不进、也找不到可以征询和求教的朋友、导师或前辈。我曾经把这个愿望讲给很多人,大多数人面露尴尬,扬扬眉,表示不置可否,更多人则质疑我的动机,”非要去念名校做什么?“”想去念名校是虚荣心作祟吧?“”如果去不成怎么办?“”去了又怎么样呢?“

 

这些充满关心的阻挠就像在我希望建立一个帮助社会边缘群体的组织时得到的质疑,”自己都没有财务自由,哪里来的勇气去帮助穷人?“和我决定去一本杂志工作而不是一家国企时得到的质疑,”没有北京户口你怎么可能生存下去?“时一样,人们挑战一个愿望的现实合理性、贬低一个愿望的存在价值、拔高一个愿望的实现难度,从而否决一个愿望。

 

汤姆是那时候唯一给我建议的人,也是唯一鼓励我坚持下去的人。他心思单纯,好像从来没有想过演偶像剧却不想成为明星有什么意义、教书却不会成为教授有什么意义,以及去泰国念一个硕士学位可以如何助益他的人生规划这类问题。对于他来说,我想要去哈佛、想要去哥大的小小愿望,就是那么一个简简单单的愿望而已,是和想要去海边看海,想要学会滑冰没有什么两样的愿望。

 

有愿望,就去实现它。

 

决定辞职之后,我正式成为了一名没有固定收入来源的社会闲散人等。有很长的一段时间,我早晨去朝阳图书馆背单词,在公交车上玩 GRE 词汇,挑战十个全对的记录,中午在图书馆门口的重庆小面或者兰州拉面吃一点,到旁边的超市散个步,买瓶红牛,下午则开始分项做阅读、听力或写作。

 

偶尔我为人写广告软文、一些短文案以及翻译英文,以此来贴补家用,就连 500 块钱一篇的专栏稿费,似乎也一下子变得至关重要起来。每天晚上我都会读放在书架上回国之后一直没有机会读的闲书,在作为无业游民的这段时间里,我读完了《自由》、《玫瑰的名字》、《光荣与梦想》和《阿特拉斯耸耸肩》,过去只是听过名字的大部头,终于找到了见面的机会。我平均每个月会读 9 本书,读闲书的时候,我觉得格外高兴,几乎没有一点儿因为未对社会创造价值而产生的罪恶感。

 

没有工作、也没有手上的项目之后,我的生活也在发生变化。

 

突然之间,我变成了足不出户的人:我坐在桌子前,桌子上堆着复习资料、每日计划表、饮料罐、喝了三分之二杯的冷咖啡、中午叫的吉野家外卖、同时开着十几个程序的笔记本电脑,一整天都可以不离开以桌子为圆心半径两米的圆;

 

需要从我身上挖掘出最后一丝的自制力,才可以保证两三点钟才睡着的我在早晨七八点钟就从床上爬起来去念书;因为没有了强制性的工作时间制约,想要找到一个拒绝社交性的聚会一个人躲在家里看书的理由变得难如登天。

 

在过去做记者的时候,我的生活每天都充满了自以为的繁忙、变化和新人新事:今天我采访了甲,明天知道了乙的八卦,后天丙公司的新闻大爆料,之后又要一边叫嚷着累成狗,一边拍一张机舱外的荒凉云海,告诉大家我又出差了。

 

申请去念书的这大半年里,生活开始变得乏善可陈,连朋友圈也没有什么值得更新的必要:朋友 A 换了新工作,我在背单词;朋友 B 跳出了媒体圈,我在背单词;朋友 C 辞职创业了,我在背单词;朋友 D 换了第二份新工作,我在背单词;朋友 E 融到了资,我在背单词。

 

以致于回国之后给汤姆写的电邮长度越来越短,可供汇报的也越来越少:

 

“嗨,汤姆,今天我背到了 E 开头的单词!”、“嗨,汤姆,今天我又复习了一遍 Q 开头的单词!总不能就写这些,是吧。”

 

回到大庆老家的时候,我遭遇了陌生的父母同事异常热心且不屈不挠的质问。

 

”你出去念这个书,以后能做什么?“

 

”MPA的就业方向主要是政府、NGO 和国际组织,我对公益机构还挺感兴趣的,也比较熟悉。“

 

”你之前的工作不好吗?“

 

”很好呀,只是我还想再念两年书。“、

 

”你出国得花不少钱吧,这么多钱去做公益组织能赚回来吗?“

 

”嗯,可能不一定赚得回来,但是我觉得这是我很想要做的事。“

 

”我认识红十字会的人,这个算公益组织吗?算吧?算吧?他们想要拨钱都得归我管,很苦的工作。“

 

”是吗?“

 

”每个人的人生理想都不一样,但你出国这么久,不找女朋友了吗?“

 

”这,我不知道啊。“

 

”现在你年轻,自以为满腔抱负,等到了我这个年纪,就知道抓紧找个女朋友,结了婚,定下来,有一份稳定的工作,这才是人生幸福。去追求一些没用的东西,跑到那么远,一个人颠沛流离的,最后还不是得回到中国吗?那个时候很多事都来不及了。叔叔大你三十岁,人生经验比你丰富很多,就是怕你到时候后悔。“

 

”是。我争取早点儿定下来。“

 

”你还是得赶紧找份工作,不能这么一直念书念下去,人不能老是一直念书,得进入社会,社会人情世故也都要学习。“

 

”是。挺对的。“

 

”你出国了爸妈怎么办,你考虑过他们吗?“

 

”现在网络也很发达,我争取再多多定期回家看他们吧。“

 

”你爸妈肯定特别孤独,家里就只有你一个儿子,你这么出去了,你爸妈怎么办啊,人还是不能只想到自己啊。“

 

”……“

 

 

就这样,递交了申请之后,我又陷入了焦虑得直转圈儿的状态里。在等 offer 的时间里,我开始和好朋友李念合伙,开始一个关于影视器材研发、生产和销售的创业项目。每当我焦虑地等候 offer 来临的时候,铺天盖地的建议又跑了出来,”去找份工作吧,万一出不去,到时候再找工作不嫌太晚了吗?“、”创业也不错,项目这么好,你干脆留在国内好好干,别天天想着出去啦“。

 

每一次听到这样的建议:热衷地期盼你和他做一样的事、有同样的理想、过相似的人生,并且动辄威胁选择其他任何可能将带来的灾难性后果时,我都会想起那次和汤姆去伦敦看太阳马戏团的剧目”死亡之轮“。表演者站在数十米直径高速转动的垂直轮盘上,跳跃、翻滚、奔跑、倒立、将其他的表演者抛向更高的空中再接住。

 

一个不可能的极限动作之后,是一个更加令人无法想象的惊人舞姿。服装大多是明亮强烈的明红、橘黄、樱桃紫和蔚蓝色。每一次腾空而起的时候,他们就像一团慷慨激昂燃烧着的斑斓火焰,把整块漆黑的舞台照耀成轰轰烈烈的白昼。

 

“我有不少朋友都会去太阳马戏团工作,”汤姆一边和我讲解每一个高难度的惊险动作,一边告诉我说,”从训练到表演的时候,都有相当程度的危险,薪水也并不算格外可观,但去太阳马戏团工作就像是一种荣耀和徽章。“

 

我不知道这些肆意奔放燃烧着的火焰,在腾空而起的那一刻心里在想些什么,但一定不会是”如果摔下来了,该怎么办?“”完美做完了这个动作,观众不鼓掌怎么办?“”就算剧目大受欢迎,又对我有什么好处呢?“

 

除了哥大 SIPA 的 MPA 之外,最终我申请了四个项目。

 

我收到了布朗的拒信、哈佛的拒信,以及伯克利的录取和哥大的录取。还有乱入的东北大学,结果还没有出来。哥大是我决定申请的第一个项目,也是我拿到的第一个录取通知书。在网页上点选 ”ACCEPT“ 的按钮时,就像是收割一个周而复始回环、终于见到光芒的愿望。

 

Moby Dick 里最令我痴心神往的那句话说,I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. 那样让人成魔、成疯、成狂的 itch,就是我一切偏执的理由。

 

我想要的,可能往往算不上一条人人皆爱的通途,从英国回到北京之后,我搬过四次家,现在又将要搬去纽约了。很少人可以理解和原谅我:“你为什么要颠沛流离?”

 

我想,可能是因为我大大小小理想们,恰好都住在需要一段跋涉才可以抵达的远方吧。

 


 

SIPA 的 MPA,这个申请结果称不上是最好的,但对我来说,是完成了一直以来的梦想。这个申请过程里,有很多人无私地帮助我,而我拙于言辞,也不知道如何表示同等的感激。

 

沈诞琦是第一个鼓励我申请 HKS 的人,为此,她邀请我去哈佛做 Panel 的嘉宾、为我介绍课程设置、带我认识可能有所帮助的朋友、把我的申请当成自己的事儿,最后没有被 HKS 录取,但我仍然对此感激不已;没有李筱媛和她的译库(微信公众号:echo-international),我的 PS 文法一定不会那么流畅漂亮,犹如重造,当时打算申请的八九所学校,每一所的 PS 都有她居功至伟的心血功劳;顾卉妮和她的 ZoomIn 特写(www.thezoomin.cn)为我的 PS 提出过至关重要的建议,每每我不顾礼节地深夜打扰,她都会立刻给出详尽和可靠的回复;Steph 花一整个下午,和我 Skype 润色我的 CV;郑瑶在我不清楚申请流程的时候,就像是一个免费版本的超级中介;申佑教育的 Maui 自告奋勇不收费地为我提供 CV 润色的建议;葱哥和他的岩松留学(微信公众号:yansongliuxue)也给了我很多私人的好点子;王卓和他的女友 Vivian 则为我发来了可供参考的打包申请资料。

 

在争取推荐信的时候,我需要一封来自前工作单位《商业周刊/中文版》主编的推荐,魏寒枫老师连多问一句都没有,干脆直接地说,”很愿意,没问题“,短短工作期间,我和他相谈甚少,但没有他的帮助,我一定没办法拿到所有的 offer。

 

另一封推荐信来自杨潇,当时我在北戴河,从微信发了非常 informal 的语音给他,希望可以得到一个”哈佛尼曼学者“的推荐,坦诚地说,我们并不算熟识,但他仍旧慷慨地应承下来,这令我格外感动。我的个人陈述里,最打动人心的是那句”被《经济学人》盛赞“的Cenci Journalism Project,如果没有 Tom Baxter 在《经济学人》上准确、客观和文笔优美的报道,我很难想象会有勇气只申请四所学校,每一所都是常春藤。

 

我的中国好室友卓星、中国好同事杨楚都给了我非常具体的、不可替代的帮助,除此之外还有很多人,比如候选推荐人丁进、Emily Song 等对我很好的人,比如明知我的要求不现实,也愿意为我一试的苗炜老师,等等。

 

你们为我建筑一个理想的小屋提供过一块缺则坍圮的砖,我想,为此我一定会努力把它建造得更漂亮。

 


 

最后,附上我的申请文书,改过很多遍,仍旧诸多不满意,字数删删又减减,但还是让它发挥最后一点点微光,贡献出来,说不定你会想要读一读。

 

第一题

 

Why are you interested in pursuing your MIA or MPA degree at SIPA? How will a degree from SIPA enable you to achieve your career goals? (400 words maximum)*

 

My cellphone rang out of the blue while I was on the high-speed train that day, it was one of my volunteers, “Where are you? Cenci is blocked, what happened?” More phone calls followed after that sudden ring. It was not until then that I acknowledged the blockage of Cenci. It was not until its death that an epitaph was conferred by The Economist, claiming it to be ‘China’s most successful civic news media’. What an irony.

 

My consistent belief has always been that there is a direct correspondence between the health of a society and its tolerance of cultural diversity. It was with the same belief that I established this civic news NGO called Cenci. In the past four years, I worked hard and inspired hundreds of volunteers. Its strong focus on marginal agendas amid social transformation accomplished it as a portal to diversified insights of China.

 

I rest my sincere hope upon the society to support marginalized groups through truthful understanding, respect, and equal treatment. Most of their unfathomable dilemmas have invariably been induced by policy deficiency and dysfunction: minor streams of funding, bits of media coverage, and emotional speech are by no means an effective alternative to public policies in bringing fundamental changes to such dilemmas.

 

Based on my existing experiences of NGO management, I wish to equip myself with more efficient theories of public policies to probe on a comprehensive scale for the effective policy implementation through NGOs, and to alter social inequality in whatever minor fashion it may be.

 

I have full confidence that the potential academic career at SIPA will fulfill me into a more remarkable and mature NGO leader. I felt both thrilled and thrived upon discovering SIPA’s tailor-made research field of Urban and Urbanized Policy, especially Prof. Rohit Aggarwala’s rich experience and academic achievements in urban transportation policies. I am more than charmed by his former experience at federal railroad administration, for I’ve been strongly enchanted by Asia’s high-speed rail policies over the past few years. I have also often indulged myself in savoring anecdotes told by my SIPA friends, through which I learnt about the diversified fusion of academic activities at SIPA, from lectures offered by the renowned Mr. Bhagawati and secretary-general of UN Security Council, to the recent speech made by Japan’s prime minister Junichiro Koizumi amid packed spectatorship.

 

My most admired individual is Hu Shi, a Chinese who graduated from Columbia University to become the leader of the New Culture Movement and was acclaimed as one of the most significant figures in Chinese modern history. I chanced upon his famous “Tolerance and Freedom” when I was 12, since then he has kept summoning me, making me who I am, witnessed my founding of Cenci, and instilled in me the warm expectation to again encounter your respected faculties at SIPA after 97 years. This will make my eventual response to his summon.

 

第二题

 

Describe yourself to a future employer. (200 words maximum)*

 

I have long yearned to dedicate myself to NGOs. Such aspiration has seen me establish Cenci. As I see it, charity is not the fundamental way to transform poverty, what I really need is a more essential instrument. During my college years, I established Ray, a campus magazine focusing on underground non-mainstream culture, and the charity/non-profit designing brand RedDocument, calling for reduced uses of paper to protect the forest.

 

I am also a consistent realist to put dreams into practice. During my four years of running Cenci, I never thought of giving up whatever difficult situations were ahead. I once led four volunteers to Shishou, Hubei for an interview with a Kuomintang veteran. After China’s war of liberation in 1949, the Kuomintang army was fought back to Taiwan, with small groups of officers and soldiers leaving behind in the Chinese mainland. This old man, Xu Fengjin, was one of them. A small room of no more than 30 square meters is where he dwells, without even being able to afford gas for the winter freeze. The five of us jointly donated several thousand yuan to the old man and initiated the internet campaign of ‘Saving Kuomintang Veterans’ to help people like him.

 

My experience of establishing NGO has fully equipped me with abundant managerial and operational proficiencies, funding channels, as well as marketing and media resources. After finishing my post-graduate study in the UK, I worked as a full-time business correspondent at Bloomberg Business Week China, for which I wrote five cover reports and interviewed more than 200 individuals. I have always tried my best to facilitate public understanding of the changing China through a business point of view.

 

第三题

 

This optional essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays. Please share any additional information about yourself that you believe would be of interest to the Admissions Committee. (300 words maximum)

 

How to Establish a Non-profit Wikipedian Crowdsourcing Media

 

Gather the founding team. First of all, I started with my dorm mates and friends at the students’ society, among whom I gathered nine that I identified with and were willing to offer me articles for free. They became the only few volunteers of the Cenci team during its initial founding.

 

Establish loop feedback mechanism. After that, we spent the initial months fully preparing ourselves. Aside from attending classes, the ten of us worked for virtually 24 hours a day. I designed at first the mechanism of content loop feedback to guarantee high quality while promoting efficiency: nine volunteers were assigned to finish their articles by schedule, and worked as editors on rotating shifts. After the articles were published, we would promote them among our own classes, campus societies, and repost them again on our social media pages to boost dissemination. We would also invite peers and friends to offer additional ideas. Meanwhile, responsible editors would provide each articles for professors and directors of relevant fields in and out of the school for further review, while I myself would concentrate on collecting funds, designing website frameworks and building up the operational team.

 

Prudently active marketing. Effective loop feedback mechanism makes the volunteers’ work more interesting. An occasional, surprisingly high-quality review and feedback would make all the voluntary work appear extraordinarily worthwhile, even if they weren’t paid a single penny. During the first two years of Cenci’s operation, I kept a prudent and conservative marketing posture to cultivate sharing habits among readers and only put all out to promote significant events. Despite that, more and more BFSUers started to join the volunteer groups, followed by tides and streams of students from other Chinese colleges. Meanwhile, college professors also became growingly interested in the Cenci articles, with many expressing willingness to authorize their articles for free reading.

 

Prioritize brand awareness. With young people being its major audiences, Cenci as an NGO is both a UGC platform and a brand. Since the initiation, I have been dedicated to establishing the Cenci brand, repeatedly emphasizing the Cenci slogan in all of my interview and webmaster memorandums, highlighting the distinctive values and standards of Cenci. I have even introduced the distinct green visual system to Cenci, set up various Cenci traditions for volunteers to follow while cultivating their conformity: we would donate postcards each year as gifts to readers; each volunteer is able to receive gifts from hundreds of other volunteers on his/her birthday; various meet-up events are held in different cities; section directors would write new year celebrating speeches themselves to volunteers and readers.

 

Throughout the years, the number of volunteers has grown from 9 to 400 while that of subscribed readers from 0 to 140,000. Among my nearly 400 volunteers, some are journalists, Doctors, professors, students, with others are civil servants from local governments, financial analysts, engineers, as well as investment managers, who would never grudge researching huge amounts of literatures for a single news agenda, and rushing to breaking news spots on self-financed basis to interview and contact relevant figures for the coverage, in order to find an answer.