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Jia Zheng ’14: Be An Overachiever

By Timmera Whaley'15 on March 7, 2014
Jia Zheng'14 Australia

Jia Zheng’14 Australia

Born in Fujian, China
Raised in the Bronx, NY

Educational studies
Environmental studies

Awards, Honorable Recognition, and Scholarships:

  • Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence: Fall 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2012, Fall 2011, Spring 2011
  • Stephen ’80 & Gretchen Hoadley ’81 Burke Endowed Scholarship
  • Academic Competitiveness Grant
  • Educational Studies Honor Thesis Candidate


Why did you decide to go to Australia? What was your favorite experience there?
IT’S AUSTRALIA! Also, the program aligned with my majors, and I love to travel. After all the adventures—listening to an orchestra play at the Sydney Opera House, watching a footy’s (rugby) game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, immersing myself in Australian Aboriginal’s culture in the Northern Territory, and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef (my most favorite experience)—I discovered that going abroad was one of the best decisions I have made at Colgate. In retrospect, I think that going to Australia really changed my outlook on the world, and more importantly, how I see myself. The growth, both intellectually and personally, is by far the most rewarding aspect of studying aboard, and I would strongly encourage everyone to do a study abroad or an extended study program while at Colgate.

What is the best advice you could give to a first year?
Toni Benjamin, a good friend of mine, once told me to be successful at Colgate was to “be an overachiever: make every single person know who you are and what you’re about. This is the place to begin to develop your own personal brand.” I advise that you should apply yourself to everything you have an interest in. Never be afraid to try something new—even if you don’t think you’re qualified for it. The worst thing someone can say to you is, “No.” Once you realize what you’re passionate about, you will be able to take advantage of all the amazing opportunities and resources Colgate has to offer in order to reach your fullest potential.

What is one class that has shaped your opinion and how?
I have taken many classes with amazing professors: Professor Palmer, Professor Spires, Professor Baptiste, Professor Stern, and Professor Wang. It is an extraordinary experience to have a professor impact you in such a way that challenges and changes the way you think. I am honored to say that Professor Pinet has done that for me, and I wish I could explain (although it would not do justice) how incredible a person he is. I was given the opportunity to go abroad with Professor Pinet and have had three courses with him. I strongly believe that he is truly a unique, rare, and beautiful soul that has a very interesting perspective about life.

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