Embracing Green

Because knowledge is there
by Xiaomin Chen -- September 25th, 2013

“Go climb a mountain because the mountain stands there; go travel because road lies in there.”

I cannot remember who first said the above sentence but it pops up on my mind each time I think about the question: why come back to school after eight-year work? I want to say because knowledge is there.

Last summer, the fifth year as a reporter, I asked myself, “Do you love what you are doing?” The answer is yes, definitely! I asked further, “Do you want to do it till you die?” I doubted.

I loved my job because it provided a platform for me to talk with opinion leaders, company executives and government officials. Everyday could be different. And I love reporting trips, which were both exciting and challenging. Besides, I can learn while working.

I’ve reported Olympics, China’s auto sector, energy industry, commodities and environment. Looking back, I found I am most proud of my job as an environment reporter. It’s great to see your stories influence decision-making and help accelerate legislative process.

The more I knew about China’s environment problems, the stronger I felt I need a systematic training. After the training, maybe I can do more than just write with limited space on page; maybe I can keep following an environment issue instead of being forced to drop a topic just because it is no longer new.

I decided to quit my job and go back to campus because knowledge is there. It was difficult to jump out of the comfort zone and leave my family and friends. But I just couldn’t forget Nicholas after I first checked out its website.

Nicholas has almost all resources I’ve reported on: water, climate change, energy and environment, environmental health, ecosystem and coastal environment. Then comes to the tough decision: I have to choose one concentration. Unfortunately I am interested in all tracks. Journalists are trained to be curious about everything.

Finally I decided to choose energy and environment mainly because I’ve reported on both. And energy includes lots of sectors. It includes not just coal and solar, but water and gas. I believed the more sectors I am exposed to, the better I can understand environment as a whole.

Durham is another reason that brought me here. I am tired of living in big cities. Traffic jams, air pollution, crowds! I just want to spend two years in a place where I can see trees, breathe fresh air, enjoy sunshine and find seats on buses. Durham is the place!


  1. Tawnee
    Sep 26, 2013

    What an inspirational story, Xiaomin. A huge jump — starting at a new program and country! You’ll definitely receive the science training you need here, but your communication/reporting background will also be particularly critical when it comes to your experiences in the environmental field because so often it’s effective communication — and those who know how to do it — that’s lacking.

    The Triangle area, and North Carolina as a whole, is a fun place to live. There’s a great deal of natural beauty to get out and see. (Like these places! http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/aggregating_authenticity/georgia-on-my-mind/, http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/internshipblogs/an-affair-to-remember/ )

    No doubt you’ll enjoy your time here!

    • Xiaomin Chen
      Sep 29, 2013

      Thanks Tawnee for your comment. I will definitely visit these places!

  2. Kevin Chang
    Oct 4, 2013

    Great story! It courage me to pursue my dream. Don’t fare to change, enjoy changes. Changes are the only constant! Knowledge is there.

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