Hi! My name is Tianjia Chen(陈田佳), which came from the combination of my parents' last names. "Chen(陈)" is the last name of my father, and "Tian(田)" is the last name of my mother, while "Jia(佳)" means "better" in Chinese, showing my parents' wishes that I can become a better person than them.
From my early age, people have been calling me the nickname of "Hybrid Rice". This came from my parents' love story that my mother, who grew up in the most northern part of China, married my father, who grew up in a small southern village, and gave birth to me.
I was born in a small town called "Linan(临安)" in Zhejiang Province, China, where I spent my whole childhood.
My parents always hope me to be an independent girl. Therefore, I was raised up without much restrictions. There are two things that left very deep impressions on my mind, and can somewhat illustrate part of my characteristics:
1) When I was 5 years old, my parents sent me to a one-week summer camp alone, and asked me to walk home myself after the camp ended. I was the only child who was not picked up by parents. I still remember the moment when I finally opened the home door with a box of peaches (the gift I bought for my parents) in hand and cried loudly.
2) On my first day in primary school, my parents asked me to walk home when classes ended, when I was only 6 years old. They did not even ask me whether I remembered the route back home. After I made it, they never sent me to school unless I fell ill or there was an emergency.
Unlike other kids in China, I grew up without any after-school class. Thanks to my parents, they didn't make choice for me. Instead, they tried to shape an independent person, and asked her to make the choice herself.
My Primary School
Out of the unexpected disease, I didn't finish the last year of kindergarten. After I recovered, I entered primary school directly, becoming the youngest kid in the class (6 years old).
According to my parents, I was too young to understand what I was doing the first three years of my primary school. Honestly speaking, I don't think I understand what I was doing before I entered junior school. I nearly have no memory of my primary school years, which is really a great pity. :(
My Junior School
Junior school was the turning point of my life. Before that, I was unknown in my class and did poorly in study.
It is really hard to tell why I became a top student in just one year, but it must has something to do with my head teacher- a very strict mathematics teacher who pushed us so hard at that time. Probably because I was afraid of being punished by her, I started previewing math classes eagerly, and even finishing homework ahead of time. Gradually, I did increasingly better in class, and finally became one of the top students out of 300 students.
As a result, I did not take the high school entrance examinations. I was admitted to the best high school in town- Linan High School (临安中学) directly.
My High School
There are so many memories for high school that I find it so hard to start this part. Nevertheless, it is not a bad idea to summarize my 2008-2011 into two perspectives.
1) Starting from a student who did really poor in science and mathematics (compared with my new peers), I enhanced myself through hard work and finally got the highest score in College Entrance Examinations in my town. The experience of facing up and overcoming the challenges strengthened my characteristics of being persistent and daring to dream. My excellent performance in study ranked me 300+ in tens of thousands of high school students in Zhejiang Province, and finally led me to Renmin University of China(中国人民大学), one of most prestigious universities in China.
2) I met so many important friends and teachers at that time, some of whom became my best friends, my life-long mentors, my most unforgettable memories. Their existences shape who I am today.
I chose the major of Statistics in my undergraduate years in Renmin University of China. In those years, I tried my best to develop myself. I never woke up after 7:00 am everyday, and was always the first to enter the classroom every morning. I met so many obstacles and faced so many moments that nearly drove me crazy. But I survived them.
I graduated with overall GPA of 3.90/4.0 and 4.0/4.0 for all major courses as the top 1 student from School of Statistics, and chose Yale University to continue my graduate study. Renmin University of China provided a brand-new platform for me, and stimulated me to reach a higher standard. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.
Meanwhile, my college years made Beijing my second hometown. I will love this city forever.
My Graduate Life
I finished my Master of Arts in Statistics at Yale University. The time spent in New Haven not only enriched my knowledge in Statistics, but deepened my understanding for American culture. More importantly, I met a lot of talented and diverse friends there. Yale is fantastic.
Now I am working at the center of technology - Silicon Valley. California is so different from the Eastern Coast that I do feel there are so many things to explore. However, this full-time job is really just part of my life. I spend most of my spare time practicing ballet and cooking/baking.
Going forward I have two dreams to fulfill: 1) Travel to the Seven Wonders of the World with my Fiancé. 2) Perform Dan Quixote IV Kitri Variation. "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." :-)