I have had the honor of calling Ziqi Lu ’18 my entrymate and friend. From his continued amazement with the wonders of Nutella, to his spontaneous Tai Chi on Pareksy Lawn, Lu always has had a way of surprising me. What I admire most about him, however, is his pure fascination and ambition for academics. Lu has a beautiful way of looking at the world, and I jumped at the chance to catch up with him again and let him share his thoughts with the rest of the community.
So Ziqi, I know you took a lot of classes last year, but how many are you taking this year?
I’m taking eight classes this semester. There are just so many things I want to learn. And for classes like chemistry there are a lot of electives that I am very interested in taking. But I really need three chemistry courses as prerequisites, and they happen to all be intro classes so I decided to just try to finish them as soon as possible. And there are also some advanced courses in psychology, so I am taking those requirements. I also have to fulfill my Division I requirements, and you know for Division III, or math and science students, Division I can be a huge problem. So I’m just trying to get all the requirements.
But don’t you want to be an economics and mathematics double major?
Yes, I want to be an econ and math major, and probably do econ and math for a career, but for my personal goal I am interested in all kinds of things. Like physics, chemistry, math, maybe a little bit of biology and psychology and some social sciences as well … And I need them as prerequisites so I am taking all of them for credit.
So do you feel like you’re swamped with work?
Sometimes, but actually for most of my classes I really like the material, so It doesn’t feel bad to go through all the things, and do the problem sets. Every day I spend only around four hours doing homework. It feels like I’m kinda like in high school with eight classes.
So, is eight the magic number, or are you going to shoot for nine next year?
Hmm, maybe not. [Laughs.] I mean I’m taking a lot of 100-level [classes] this year, but for next year, when I’m taking other classes, maybe not. I don’t think it would work.
And what do you participate in outside the classroom?
Well, right now I’m part of Chinese Ensemble, just playing some music which is really good. But also, I think I am the worst guy in the group because some people have been doing music for at least six years and I only played flute for like four years, and in two of them, I actually never really touched it. I started in high school, but I only played for a year, but then got really distracted applying for colleges and high schools in America … I spent two years in China, and then two years in America at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts.
I’ve also heard that you are a fan of Tai Chi.
Yeah! And actually it’s more like a type of mediation for me, and it really keeps me healthy. Last summer I was visiting a friend in Shanghai and he was learning Tai Chi from an old man, maybe his tutor.
Kind of like a Tai Chi master?
Yeah, kinda like that, because that guy had been doing Tai Chi for like 40 or 50 years. But I am just practicing the basic part, just to make myself healthy, because later on when you get more and more into it, you get to learn some fighting skills … But that takes like 10 years to get there. And I don’t think I could do that. You would have to spend one or two hours every day.
Yeah, I’ve seen you before on the steps of Paresky and on the lawn.
Yeah, sometimes, if I have free time, I think “Hey, it’s time to do it!” Because if you plan everything ahead, life has no surprises, and it would be too boring.
Very true! And you also appreciate the delicacies of Nutella, right?
Yes. I was in China and some friends in Canada took some pictures of Nutella and said it tastes pretty good, but we don’t have that kind of thing in China. It’s not really popular. So I first started trying it in Pareksy. And it is so good! I’m a big fan of Nutella now.
Do you remember how in snacks you used to talk about all the different ways you learned how to eat Nutella that week?
Yeah, what I learned was how to deal with the bread. Sometimes you can really soak the bread with Nutella and make sure that the Nutella really gets into the bread because that makes it really good.
And how is your girlfriend? She goes to Boston University, right?
Yes, she does. Actually, she just came here over reading period, and we spent most of the time in the library. Like the last time she came.
And you met your girlfriend back in high school?
Yeah, how I got to know her really, is because every day I would go to the library for a couple of hours, and she was always there as well. We started to get to know each other. She’s also really academic, but I would also say that she is definitely more normal that I am … But we send messages and Skype [over] the weekend.
What do you want to pursue as your career?
Maybe academics, because I really like the feeling when you find something new. It helps you understand everything that is going on, and it’s a really good feeling … I feel like I’m doing things a little bit differently than typical college students, because I remember two weeks ago the dean of international students was talking to me about all the classes I’m taking. She was a little bit worried that I wouldn’t have a social life or make connections with other students, and I feel like when other people hear that I’m taking eight classes they feel like, “Oh, this guy is so weird!” But I really feel like it’s a difference in utility.
Any last words?
I really think everyone here is living a good life, and I really like being here. Because it feels so good when you see people taking pictures of all the fall trees, or going hiking everywhere. And everyone says hi to people. Going to Eco Cafe and talking to people about the exciting things in their classes … I just feel so happy. Even if I am not in a conversation, just being there.