RU QI YU, Undergraduate
JS: Okay, let’s warm up with something easy. Coffee or a cold apple: which keeps you going?
RY: Coffee definitely keeps me going to the washroom.
JS: Cool, well, as long as you don’t have any accidents – I have enough of those at home with my 3-year-old. Anyway, how do you like Vancouver? Where did you live before coming to Vancouver? Vancouver’s better, right? KIDDING! There are no wrong answers here! Please, go ahead.
RY: Vancouver is certainly a wonderful place for almost everyone. I lived in a small secluded town called Shanghai in Eastern China. I’m not good at rating stuff, so what I can say is that Vancouver is good, and Shanghai is also good.
JS: I also came from a small town called Shelby, in Texas. Only 30 people or so lived there. Now I have a standard interview question, sorry: What’s your worst feature and how can you spin it to make you sound amazing?
RY: When I am not confident with something, I usually non-consciously inhibit it until I come up with a solution later. Often I couldn’t find a solution, so there are always a lot of things for me to finish… Okay, that’s not really the point of the story. The point is: there are many aspects of ourselves that are not under the control of consciousness. The fact that I am able to verbally present my non-conscious tendency is a good thing? Right?
JS: I think we can agree that it’s good to know yourself. Now, Ru, tell me about your first experiment. Not from your first lab experience, school etc, but your REAL FIRST experiment.
RY: I buried my pet turtle in the soil, hoping to get some fossils later. Later here means after a week. What I have concluded was that burying animals was not a feasible way of getting fossils, and crying in front of my parents to make them buy me fossil toys was a much better method.
JS: OK, but just remember that I am much stronger, psychologically, than your parents and that crying is not going to get you a fancy cell counting software package (which won’t even work). Hey, so where do you see yourself in 10 years? How about 50 years? 400 years? I’m talking at a basic level about where do you think you’ll be at but, also, what do you hope to have contributed to planet earth?
RY: In 10 years: I am a spy from an alien planet. My task is to collect information of planet earth for a possible alien invasion. But I have fallen in love with the earth, and I have decided to save the earth from misery, kind of like Pocahontas. In 10 years, I will hold a conference to facilitate proper communication between the earth and people from my home planet so that the potential conflict can be avoided. In 50 years: I will have a family on planet earth, and hopefully people from both planets will realize that we are not really different from each other. In 400 years: I hope my delusion of being an alien will eventually go away. But then if I don’t have the delusion of being an alien, I won’t believe that I will still be alive in 400 years… Oh well…
JS: Where do I start? Are you currently an alien or do you plan on becoming one? If the aliens do invade can you get us some fancy research equipment? The bit about the conference is beautiful too, kind of like how you and me, despite being from different small towns in Texas and China, are not really that different. Next question: what are you up to when you’re not in the lab? WHAT? YOU’RE NOT ALWAYS IN THE LAB? Just kidding, do tell!
RY: I like to eat ice-cream, a lot. That will take most of my time since I am severely lactose intolerant and get really sick after eating ice-cream.
JS: Beautiful imagery here. Standard interview question #2, really sorry: Tell me about a challenge you faced (and totally overcame).
RY: I don’t like to talk about myself, but look!
JS: Uh, look at what? Or do you mean that you like to look at yourself instead of talk about yourself? You’re a handsome dude, Ru, I’ll give you that. If you were to come into the lab one morning (it’s ok to leave the lab to sleep at night, sometimes) and find that someone had brought in your favourite edible treat to share with the lab, what would that favourite edible treat be?
RY: Ice-cream with anti-diarrhea medicine. They have to come together though. Otherwise noodles! Wheat noodles!
JS: It’s been a pleasure chatting with you Ru.