Wednesday, December 15, 2010

First Year at Taida

National Taiwan University is generally called Taida for short, in every day conversation. The Chemistry Department had only 34 new entering students in 1957. Of these, 33 graduated in 1961. I am not sure how we lost one in the middle. Four were over-seas students; they came from abroad through a different process (not through the college entrance exam system) as the Government was trying very hard to get connected with Chinese over-seas. Close to 50% of the local group also entered without taking the entrance exam as they had graduated from good high schools with top grades which qualified them for this distinction. Six of these came from First Girls High School in Taipei, by far the most dominant high school in that period. (You may remember I mentioned earlier that I was offered admittance to Cheng-Kung University in the southern city of Tainan without taking the entrance exam, but I declined.) Clearly, the Taida group of young people was the cream of the crop, bringing together the best students from all over the island and beyond.

During the first few months, in addition to studying some difficult subjects, such as calculus, chemistry, physics, and labs, we also had to spend time adjusting to the different social situation. We were learning to sit in a classroom together with students of the opposite sex for the first time since primary school. For the girls it was even more difficult as they no longer wore uniforms and had to choose what to wear and whether to use makeup, etc. Other subjects we took in the first year included Chinese, English, Three People's Principles (politics), Military Training (we were at war with communists officially), and Physical Education. Really, there were just too many subjects for anyone to learn well, but we were quite used to handling the "Stuff the Ducks" education technique. No one sank that first year. In fact almost no one sank during all our college years. All universities were hard to get into but easy to graduate from.

In the middle of our first semester, our Chinese teacher invited the whole class to go to visit the Fu-Shi-Lain University Garden (named after the first president of the University after the end of the Japanese occupation) for an informal get-together. We called the place "Fu-Yuan". That was our first CO-ED party!

Later in the year, the whole class went to Bitang for an outing. We were gradually getting used to co-ed life by then!

No comments:

Post a Comment