Alumni Interview: Jiani (Ingrid) Li, '19
Posted 04/01/2021 02:42PM

My third Alumni interview was Jiani Li (Ingrid) who graduated from Wooster in 2019. She is now a sophomore attending Smith College

Photo: Ingrid as a Wooster student

Tell us about how COVID has affected your ability to study at Smith this year.

- Wow long story. I went back home to China last year in March after covid started spreading and school closed down. It took me nearly 30 hours to get to Hong Kong and 14 days of quarantine in the hotel. I took remote classes at home last fall semester and for the spring I'm doing a gap semester. We will see how it goes in September but I really want to go back to Smith.

What is your current major?

- I'm now a sophomore majoring in government and English.

What have you been doing outside of studying?

- I will change this to "outside of working" since I'm doing an internship in Shanghai. I spent a lot of time exploring cute cafes, galleries, business events in Shanghai. I live with a couple of other Chinese students in an apartment and I really enjoyed cooking with them and having chat nights (we didn't know each other before we moved in!). I think that the most fascinating thing about working in Shanghai (my hometown is in another city called Guangzhou) is because it is really like NYC ---- you meet new and interesting people all the time and you always feel excited about getting to know them. I built many great connections here.

- I also have been running a group chat for Smithies in China who want to get more exposure to others' experiences in a virtual semester. So in the group chat I will help people let them share their cool experiences or just topics that are fun to listen to. I started running this group chat on Monday and it has been my recent main source of fulfillment!

I heard that you are taking a semester off for a certain internship, can you explain what you are doing?

- Yes. I'm doing an operation internship in a company that incubates business projects from zero to one. Because our team is really small and our project is from zero to one, I get a lot of exposure to how a business project can go from ideation to incubation and growth. My team now is doing a pet care-related project and I get to interact with pet owners and see cute puppies' pics every day (I think that explains why my work pressure is not so high lol).

It may not be an intuitive choice for an English major to go do an internship in business but I think the underlying logic is always the same -- if something excites you, do it. I got creative fiction inspirations every day just from my daily life. Life is the source of creation and I have been thinking about taking some time to write a few stories!

What was your favorite part about Wooster?

- I miss the simpleness of high school life. In high school, we were thinking college application is the most important stuff but once you get to college you know there are way too many choices waiting for you to decide --- what's the most important one. And that choice-making takes time and your energy. In Wooster, you can always get a faculty or a teacher to get your back if you want to do something whether it is a club or a project but in college, you have to learn to be more resourceful and network with people. I also miss the humanities & arts class and amazing faculties at Wooster!! We had a lot of funny and touching moments in class where you just focus on the conversation or the craft. College is a bit more stressful to enjoy those moments of happiness.

Do you have any advice for our current students?

- I think this will go back to my previous answer. There are more than high school and more than college. Don't get too stressed about the application or other things that you think is sooooo important. High school should be a time where you leave some room and do something for your true self. It is a time for you to be more self-reflective, period. Please treat others the way you want to be treated and praise for yourself the way you want others to praise you. Vulnerable is strength, I don't know if this makes sense to you now but this is what I have found after almost two years of graduation.

I remember your SIS project in collaboration with TILL, are you still involved in the sustainable fashion movement?

- I was going to intern for TILL last summer but because of covid, my plan got canceled. I referred another smithie to be their intern. I'm at a student consulting group at Smith and we have suggested some strategy advice for them last year. I would say that TILL has exposed me to the world of sustainable fashion and the concept behind it greatly.

About WiNK

WiNK (“Wooster Ink”) is Wooster School’s online student news publication. WiNK serves as the student voice of our community, and provides readers with a weekly overview of what's happening in our students' lives, and it gives students a chance to share their interests and voices. The majority of the content is developed in our Upper School Journalism classes, but we also accept contributions from other students and faculty members.

WiNK Contact

Brooke Thaler

Publications Teacher

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