Humans of McMaster: Yiming Zhang

Esther Liu
September 15, 2022
Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Silhouette: Please introduce yourself.  

Yiming Zhang: My name is Yiming and I’m in my third year of the [Bachelor of Health Sciences] at McMaster [University]. 

What are you involved with at McMaster?   

I'm a pretty introverted guy. So when I go out to McMaster campus, you won't see me during spirit week or anything like that but I'll be in clubs. I'm a part of three clubs: the Meducator, McMaster Extra Life and Homework Help for Charity. 

You say you are introverted. What leads you to try new things and put yourself out there? 

A lot of times, trying things isn't really the hard part. People often have that mindset where they need to avoid 'wasting' time. I think that's a really big issue. No one wants to waste time. We want to be very sure of what we do. But, to some degree, I'm never going to be sure. Let's say the dance team wasn't mostly girls and let's say I knew how to dance. Maybe I don't know if I want to join the club, maybe it's too hard or maybe I don't like the atmosphere but I have to try to know.  For the cover of the Meducator, someone else had the idea and wanted a volunteer. So I just offered. I think too much thought goes into it. It's only embarrassing if you think it's embarrassing. I think you just have to go for it. 

"People often have that mindset where they need to avoid "wasting" time. I think that's a really big issue. No one wants to waste time. We want to be very sure of what we do. But, to some degree, I'm never going to be sure."

Yiming Zhang, third-year Bachelor of Health Sciences student at McMaster University

Have you ever used an English name? 

I haven't. My name actually comes from a Chinese idiom. I think it's about this songbird that never sings, really just making it a bird. But once it does sing, its song is really beautiful. Here's the curse: I realized that I am painfully average at almost everything. For example, my sister [and I] are decent at swimming. That's good in comparison to other things we don't really know. I feel pretty average at studying. I'm average at piano and I've been doing piano from maybe grade four to Grade 12. A lot of time, I'm left thinking, "Okay, where's my song? Where's my talent? Why can’t I just have the talent?" 

"I realized that I am painfully average at almost everything . . . A lot of time, I'm left thinking, "Okay, where's my song? Where's my talent? Why can’t I just have the talent?""

Yiming Zhang, third-year Bachelor of Health Sciences student at McMaster University

Some people just have a really big passion for something. Let's say drawing, you just see them drawing every single day [and] as a result, they get really good at it, right? For me, I think being average is kind of concerning because you can't manifest passion if you don't have it. I think that the passion aspect is critical. It just makes you feel, "Well I'm doing this, it's passable but they're doing this really really well". It doesn't always feel great but that's how it is. But I feel like then you'll find someone who's doing it really really well too. So eventually, being 'passable' isn't enough. 

I don't have the strongest passion for piano. I love it but I don't think it's what I want to do. I can still practice for a long time but it can get tiring to practice the same thing for hours and hours and hours every day while I just haven't really gotten any better. I feel like if I had more passion, it'd be a lot easier. 

But let me be clear, I'm not [going to] let it stop me from doing what I like.  Even though I might say that something isn't my one true calling, I'll still try it. Yeah, it'd be nice if I was amazing at it, but that's all. I can't keep going like that. I can't just think: "Wow, I'm so sad and disappointed". You can still process your emotions like that but staying there doesn't get anyone anywhere. You're still where you started, albeit with a bit less emotional baggage. You can't let that stop you, you have to keep moving forward and do what you want. 

"Even though I might say that something isn't my one true calling, I'll still try it. Yeah, it'd be nice if I was amazing at it, but that's all. I can't keep going like that. I can't just think: "Wow, I'm so sad and disappointed" . . . You can't let that stop you, you have to keep moving forward and do what you want."

Yiming Zhang, third-year Bachelor of Health Sciences student at McMaster University
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