Words From the Chair

If I Were a Freshman Again, ...

Chair of Leisure and Recreation Management Department
Fang, Yen-Po
    If I were a freshman again, thinking back to 30 years ago, when I entered Taipei Physical Education College, my classmates were all record holders or current national athletes, or athletes from the national training center. Each classmate was a specialist in their field. We all had professional physical education courses in the morning; each student went to their own specialized classroom or venue for training in the afternoon. The courses we took were quite enriching. As athletes were always practicing beyond their limits, it was difficult to avoid dozing off in class, and I was no exception. That’s why I always chose to sit in the first three rows during my university life, to remind myself to focus on the class. Because all the faculty members were experts in their fields, I hoped to achieve good grades and study abroad for graduate school after graduating from university. During my university life, I had the opportunity to represent my country in many competitions. Every time I went abroad, I not only tried my best to achieve good results in the competition, but also learned the importance of English. Therefore, I set academic goals for myself, including studying, taking exams, and learning English. A coach once reminded us, "Are you going to sweat now or cry in the future?" As long as we make effort to achieve our goals, we will not regret it in the future.     
   During your university life, in addition to maintaining good academic performance, I hope all of you can participate in more student club activities, part-time work and making friends. I am grateful to have made some good friends during my four years in university, and we still keep in touch until now. During university years, we not only had to study, but also had to practice our professional skills. Chatting with friends could relieve our stress, as we encouraged each other. Whether in class or in a student club, we can find like-minded friends to learn and grow together, which will leave special memories in our lives.
   Choosing the right places for part-time jobs is very important. Besides earning money, working can also allow you to experience different working environments and assist you in discovering your future direction earlier. During my university life, every weekend afternoon I taught children karate at the YMCA in Wanhua District of Taipei. I used my athletic expertise to teach children karate, and I enjoyed interacting with them and watching them learn karate seriously, which gave me a sense of accomplishment. I worked at the YMCA for three years, where I met my mentor. During a conversation with the YMCA Director, he suggested that I study Leisure and Recreation Management at Springfield College in Massachusetts, USA. There was no such department in Taiwan, so I actively studied English and went through the application process for graduate school in the U.S. While working part-time in university, I met this mentor, who guided me to a unique learning path, which allowed me to perfectly combine my interests and work. After working in the sports and leisure industry and studying abroad, I finally earned a doctoral degree and became a professor at Ming Chuan University. 
   Working in the Leisure and Recreation Management Department at Ming Chuan University, I reflect on who I was over thirty years ago. I was really interested in sports and leisure activities, but in an environment with limited resources, I had to actively seek learning opportunities both on and off campus. Now, as a faculty member at Ming Chuan University, I often encourage students to make full use of the rich resources provided by the institution. Through various professional recreation courses and general education courses, students can experience different leisure activities. Through activities organized by the department, students can earn professional certificates based on their professional skills or interests, and as well as deepen their international learning through study abroad programs. During internships in their junior and senior years, students can experience the workplace early and explore leisure industries that they are interested in. 
   First-year students at Ming Chuan University can make full use of the institutional resources. We have a comfortable library, gymnasiums, a track and field, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, and other venues. Regular exercise is a good opportunity for first-year students to make friends, and you can meet like-minded classmates or upperclassmen. The people and things you encounter will become precious memories of your youth. In addition, the Leisure and Recreation Management Department regularly invites experts from the leisure and recreation industry to give lectures or specialized topic seminars on campus, sharing their professional knowledge and related trends in the field of leisure and recreation. This is a good opportunity, and we hope that students will take advantage of it, attend on time, and ask relevant questions. 
   Lastly, we welcome everyone to join our Leisure and Recreation Department family. We hope that you can enjoy your learning and cherish this fulfilling four-year journey.