Written by Jack Fan
Translated by Hong (Ariel) Chan
Edited by Patrick McShane
As the end of spring gradually approaches, American universities also begin to enter the graduation season. On April 22, 2023, at Tzu Chi USA’s Austin Service Center in Texas, a graduation party was held for eight Tzu Chi Collegiate Association (TCCA) members, also referred to as Tzu Ching, at the University of Texas at Austin. With the blessings of more than 30 students and volunteers, the graduates completed their university education and embarked on another milestone in life. During the celebration, recap videos of each graduate’s participation in events, and blessings given by friends, were played. Apart from the warmth, the deep friendship among TCCA graduates was showcased in each thoughtful video.
Meeting a Group of Close Friends
“My first year of college was during the pandemic, and I was taking classes remotely at home and living a life with my family serving me,” Kuzon Khan, a graduate, joked. “It wasn’t until I actually came to school that I realized that I had to take care of my own life and meet new friends again. Fortunately, I met Tzu Ching at that time.” Kuzon Khan also shared that he made a group of close friends within TCCA, who not only studied with him but invited him to various events.
To many Austin volunteers, it seemed that the quiet Jeff Huynh was still a child from the local Tzu Chi Academy. Then, in the blink of an eye, he was about to graduate from college and go to Houston to start medical school. He said that through volunteering with Tzu Chi, he had found his purpose in life. He also hopes that he can live up to the expectations of others and become a doctor with good morals.
Joshua Lim also grew up in the embrace of Tzu Chi. As an only child, he was naturally shy, but his classmates encouraged him to become a Tzu Ching board member. Later, he also became a mentor in the Tzu Ching family counseling program and shepherded newcomers. Joshua said that he’s very grateful to Tzu Chi for fostering an environment for him to grow from an awkward and taciturn person to someone who could now “speak if needed.”
Like Joshua, Samuel Hwang is also a San Antonio graduate. He was first introduced to Tzu Chi through his roommate, Joshua. At that time, the enthusiasm and vitality of the Tzu Chi board members in recruiting new students spoke to him deeply, and he quickly developed a strong impression of this previously unknown organization. Every time he participated in volunteer activities, he felt more enriched and was eventually motivated to become part of the board team, helping plan this year’s volunteer events. Although he was very shy when he first joined, he has now grown more independent and outgoing.
Constantly Challenged to Try New Things
Erica Chang, from Dallas, Texas, also grew up in a Tzu Chi Academy. She shared that since she joined TCCA in her first year of university, she has been constantly challenged to try new things. Whether speaking on stage, hosting, or chatting with new members, all were new and unique experiences that took courage. Although she was nervous every time she talked with strangers, Erica let go of her fear and ultimately became club president.
Through their collective efforts, TCCA gradually established its presence as a campus organization. Erica, who majored in nursing, said that she would not complete all the courses until the fall, and welcomed the new board members in the next year to contact her as necessary.
“You should keep in mind everything you learned while volunteering with Tzu Ching, and remember to pass on the love where you are able in the future,” Tsangbin Wen, the head of the Austin Service Center, warmly encouraged after the meeting. It is hoped that no matter where in the world this group of graduates goes, they will become a ray of light, inspiring hearts and continuing to illuminate the path forward.
Looking back at when everyone had just joined TCCA, each person’s journey for personal growth became apparent. Volunteers hope that what they have learned in their university career will carry forth in daily life, inspiring wisdom and strengthening their inherent Buddha nature, thus transforming the future with love.