Linda Chen  

 “I just feel like SFU is awesome. It prepped me for grad school. At the University of Copenhagen when people were stressed out, I was laid back.  This was nothing compared to SFU. This is a piece of cake, why are they stressed out? Then I realized that SFU have given me all the tools that I needed to handle stress, to handle... pretty much everything.”

Linda Chen’s inquisitive personality and passion to get involved helped her to forge her own path through SFU Economics. Graduating with a BA, major in economics, Linda used her five years at SFU to complete an international exchange that broaden her perspective and get heavily involved with the Economics Student Society (ESS).

Linda discovered economics in ECON 103 with Professor Douglas Allen. She said, “he really changed my prospective. He was a hard prof, I'll be lying if I said his classes was a piece of cake.” Chen was attracted to economics theories and concepts as she could visualize herself in the concepts. She explains, “I would actually put myself in the situation. How would I react in the situation? It’s very micro but when you act it out, other people are very similar, and that is how people interact.”

At first, she was not sure if she wanted to change her major. She said, “I didn't have the motivation to study, or even open the text book because I thought this was so boring. But the reason why I went into business because it was a pathway that was direct and it seems, you know what you want to do after.” She continues, “I became a bit hermit during the year and half because I was really confused about what I wanted to do.”

However she found friends in her economics courses that influenced her to join the ESS and switch to the economics major program. She said, “I learned so much during the whole ESS experience as I learned how to communicate. It gave me the tools I need, when I go into the workplace, on how to communicate with co-workers and different departments.”

Over a two year period, Linda climbed the corporate ladder and tried different positions in the ESS such as Secretary, External Relations Officer, and in her last semester she was elected President. She will always be proud of her involvement in ESS events that had a direct impact on undergraduate students. She said, “the career night is one of the key events for the ESS because it really inspired me. I met so many cool people there and it narrowed down what I wanted to do.”

Linda realized that she wanted to go on to a master in economics but that decision was confirmed when she went on an international exchange to the University of Copenhagen.  “I wanted to do an international exchange for my own personal good and I feel that economics is so broad. We have great professors in SFU but there is always other perspectives in different universities and point of views. That really pushed me to go outside of my bubble and get that experience.” Living and learning in Europe gave her confidence and helped broaden her perspective.

 “Talk to the professor, is the advice I would give to any of the newbies. If you are confused go to the office hours, because you are paying for the professor to sit there.  Abuse it!” She further explain, “In my last course, ECON 355W with Chris Bidner, I would study the book and my notes and I would sticky note what I didn't get. Why, where, why don't I get this? Is it the math, the concept? Is it the whole thing? I would write it down on the sticky and stick on the note so I would remember and create a list.”  

Chris agrees that visiting office hours with questions is helpful for the student and for the instructor, he said, “Perhaps surprisingly, the main benefit of this practice is not getting answers from the professor--rather, it is clarifying to yourself why a concept is confusing you.” He continues, “we want students to succeed, and our efforts are far more effective when we are not second-guessing where a students' misunderstanding arises. Linda's clear questions during office hours helped me better understand which parts of the material students were struggling with and helped shape the emphasis of subsequent lectures as a result.”

Linda is going back to the University of Copenhagen to complete a master of economics in a two year program. After her master, she plans on teaching economics. She said “what my professors have shared with me, I really want to continue and inspire future econ students to really enjoy econ as much as I do and even more.”