Firstie Focus: Waner (Sylvia) Zhou ’21

Photo of Waner (Sylvia) Zhou ’21

Name: Waner (Sylvia) Zhou ’21

High school: Zhenhai High School of Ningbo, Zhejiang

Hometown: Zhejiang, China

Major: international relations

Noteworthy experiences: I started a WeChat subscription, where I write my own ideas about women’s rights and gender equality, and so far have gained substantial subscribers and coverage in my community.

I started learning calligraphy at age 6. As a kid I was playful and naughty, and I got distracted very easily. At first my parents forced me to learn because they thought it would help me concentrate. At the beginner level, calligraphy is a long, tedious process. As I got to a more advanced level, I started to appreciate the philosophy behind this ancient art form. I paid specific attention to the different historical backgrounds, life experiences and personalities of each calligrapher in order to understand their expression better. With the help of this extra knowledge, I saw that calligraphy is not an uncreative imitation but a catchy, vivid way to explore Chinese history and culture.

Proudest moment: When I received the offer from Mount Holyoke.

Why MHC: I focused on the issue of women’s rights in high school, but I did not have much support and recognition, probably because I live in a small city in China and not many people have thought about women’s rights. I chose Mount Holyoke because I want to make friends with strong, confident and independent women and be surrounded by a liberal, inclusive and supportive atmosphere where every opinion is heard and respected.

First impressions: Mount Holyoke has beautiful scenery, good food and fun people.

How are you spending the summer: traveling across China with friends

Where do you want to be in 10 years: Professionally, I hope to have a master’s degree in international relations. Mentally, I hope to be more secure and confident about who I am and what I am becoming.

Career aspirations: Vlogger: filming travels, lifestyles and fun ideas to record life and hopefully spread positivities to influence more — only if I can make a living by that.

Superhero: the comic book character Wonder Woman

Favorite book: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

Favorite social media: Instagram