My campus story|Updated: January 12, 2024

My first year of university was nothing short of enjoyable. The excitement of a new chapter, the thrill of making new friends, and the discovery of diverse academic opportunities were all part of this wonderful experience. The year was filled with learning and growth, both personally and academically. But perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned was that university life is what you make of it – it's not just about attending classes and studying, but also about exploring your passions, embracing challenges, and seizing opportunities that come your way.

One such opportunity presented itself during my first year when I decided to venture into entrepreneurship by establishing a mini coffee bar on campus, which named "A Cup Of." The idea emerged from my tutor’s love for coffee and the desire to create a cozy space where students could unwind, socialize, and fuel their day with quality coffee. Little did I know that this small initiative would turn into a significant learning experience.

Neat coffee shop [Photo provided to]

Running "A Cup Of" was no walk in the park. From selecting suppliers and crafting the menu to managing finances and ensuring timely operations, every aspect demanded careful consideration. The process taught me vital skills like effective communication, budgeting, time management, and problem-solving. Interacting with suppliers honed my negotiation skills, while serving customers enhanced my interpersonal skills.

Coffee tasting [Photo provided to]

One of the most crucial aspects of the journey was teamwork. I had the pleasure of working alongside a dedicated group of friends who shared my vision. We faced challenges together, brainstormed ideas, and supported each other through the highs and lows. This experience reinforced the importance of collaboration and the strength that diverse perspectives bring to a project.

My team and me drink coffee. [Photo provided to]

The highlight of this journey was the recognition "A Cup Of" received – winning a golden medal in a contest. The sense of accomplishment was unparalleled, validating the hard work, determination, and creativity we poured into the project. This achievement not only boosted our confidence but also served as a reminder that stepping out of our comfort zones and daring to pursue our passions can lead to remarkable outcomes.

We win a golden medal in a contest [Photo provided to]

Reflecting on my journey, I am reminded of the importance of embracing university life to the fullest. It's not just about academics; it's about discovering your interests, embracing challenges, and building lifelong skills that extend beyond the classroom. "A Cup Of" taught me that exploring uncharted territories can be both daunting and exhilarating, but it's in those moments of uncertainty that growth truly happens.

My advice to fellow students is to seize every opportunity, whether it's starting a new project, joining a club, or taking up a hobby. University is a platform for self-discovery, and each experience contributes to your personal and professional development. Be open to failure, as it's often a steppingstone to success. The journey may not always be smooth, but the lessons you learn along the way will be invaluable.

My first year of university was truly enjoyable, laying the foundation for the remarkable journey with "A Cup Of." The experience of running the coffee bar taught me about entrepreneurship, teamwork, and resilience. The recognition we received was a testament to the power of passion and determination. As I look ahead, I'm excited to continue embracing new opportunities, both within and beyond the university, and I encourage everyone to do the same. Remember, your time at university is a canvas – paint it with diverse experiences, bold endeavours, and the courage to explore every possibility.

Our coffee in front of the school library [Photo provided to]

Name:Meng Jingjie
University:Yunnan Agricultural University
Tutor:Lu Yao, Chen Ji