Shi Xinlin: Always strive for the better

"Shi, we gotta go. Take care and get rest early!" Senior classmates waved goodbye to Shi Xinlin, "I'll leave right after I finish analyzing this set(of data)!" Shi focused on the data obtained from the electrochemical workstation and replied without looking up. It was 11 pm in the Shoupu Building laboratory, where the outside was filled with the sounds of insects and inside was the hardworking young man. It was precisely through persistence day in and out that Shi Xinlin oriented his direction and realized his own value.

The future rewards those who plan ahead and know what they want

"Actually, I was barely above the cut-off score of my major," Shi Xinlin said candidly, talking about his past failure in the college entrance examination. However, this disappointing experience did not haunt him for that long. Instead, it became the driving force that motivated him to move forward. Just entering the university campus, while most freshmen were still in confusion, he had already made up his mind to find his own value via working hard on study.

Shi Xinlin believes that obtaining serviceable information plays key role during university. Therefore, he collected information via various channels, including actively learning from senior students' sharing sessions, frequently checking the official college notification board to learn various policies, and communicating with teachers and classmates timely.When first entered school, at the recommendation sharing meeting for graduate admissions, a senior student who had been admitted to Sun Yat-sen University emphasized the importance of GPA of each semester and the necessity of joining a laboratory as early as possible. Shi Xinlin kept his senior's advice in mind. In the first semester of his studies, he achieved the best grades in his major. This gave him great encouragement, "I know I have the ability to achieve good results, I can do it!" This also laid a good foundation for his subsequent development.

However, balancing research projects and major courses within a limited time is not an easy task, and excelling in both fields is even more challenging. "Maximizing efficiency in every minute" is Shi Xinlin's "recipe" of time management. In his major courses, he maximized efficiency in class and spent only a small amount of time on homework after class. He then shifted his focus to the laboratory for research. In the month before the final exams, he devoted himself to efficient review, tackling each key and difficult point one by one. With systematic time management, Shi Xinlin achieved excellent results in all compulsory courses of his major.

Beside his hectic studies and research, he is also enthusiastic about public welfare. On weekends, he volunteers as a librarian, and during summer and winter vacations, he participates in long-term volunteer service activities such as the "Mecha Master Youth Series Competition." For him, being fully committed to volunteer service not only gave him a comprehensive abilities improvement, but also a sense of self-achievement.

Action speaks louder than words

"Action speaks louder than words."For students like Shi Xinlin who are majoring in materials, entering the laboratory to study and research is a necessary process, but it is not an easy task to enter the laboratory in the first year. The laboratory is mostly composed of master's students and postdoctoral researchers, and there are few peers who can "speak the same language". Moreover, research in the laboratory requires a strong theoretical foundation and profound professional knowledge. Shi Xinlin, who started from scratch, faced these huge pressures and inevitably had thoughts of giving up.

But the courage to pursue breakthroughs in Shi Xinlin's heart keeps ringing the bell, "I can't stay in my comfort zone all the time, I must make changes." "Although it will be difficult at first, looking back, I will thank myself for making the changes." When encountering unfamiliar areas, Shi Xinlin takes the initiaitve to turn to literature and asks experienced seniors for advice. He overcame his awkwardness and confusion, and ultimately kept working in the laboratory. In the subsequent exploratory practice, Shi Xinlin discovered the joy and charm of scientific research, and his enthusiasm for scientific research has also been increasing. From initially relying on teacher arrangements and being guided by senior brothers and sisters, to later independent research, Shi Xinlin began to make targeted breakthroughs in small fields.

The most representative achievement is the development of a carboxylated graphene-carbon nanotube composite film with ultra-strong anti-interference performance, which has been used to detect creatinine, a new prostate cancer biomarker. Detecting this biomarker is extremely difficult because its concentration in blood is very low and hard to uncover, and it is also severely interfered by electroactive interfering substances in blood. Faced with such a problem, Shi Xinlin and his team initially adopted a method of improving catalyst activity to detect low-concentration substances, made some progress, and published an SCI paper (as the first author), but the interference problem still had not been well solved.

"Our main idea is to design a membrane that selectively allows only the molecules we need to pass through," explained Shi Xinlin. However, the research presented many difficulties as there were few references to draw on in the laboratory. After a long period of discussion and extensive literature review, the team finally succeeded in preparing a highly efficient selective permeable membrane late one night. "I was really happy at that moment of success," Shi Xinlin recalled. This research achievement enabled him to smoothly apply for a national-level university student innovation and entrepreneurship training program, a Guangdong provincial science and technology innovation strategy special fund key project, and an invention patent. He also wrote his second English paper (as the first author), which became a highlight of his research work.

Always StayHumble

Everyone who knows Shi Xinlin would describe him as "humble and down-to-earth". He himself admits, "I'm not a very smart person, at least not outstanding in terms of intelligence." In Shi Xinlin's opinion, his strength lies in his clear self-management and self-planning, and his willingness to break through his limits and challenge himself. He takes the quote "dissatisfaction is the driving force for improvement" from Lu Xun's "Hot Wind" as his life creed, reminding himself not to be complacent about his achievements and to always demand strict standards of himself, always having the desire to improve. Dissatisfied with his academic performance when he first entered university, he worked hard and achieved many first places in his major. Wanting to break through himself, he accepted the challenge of the laboratory and found his own path in various scientific research projects. "I walk slowly, but every step counts," Shi Xinlin says firmly.

No man is an island, and in the process of learning , the company of good teachers and friends is essential. In the laboratory, Shi Xinlin met a senior who was a year ahead of him, and they discussed plans, overcame difficulties, and learned and progressed together.This senior brother has been admitted to Southern University of Science and Technology, while Shi Xinlin is about to enter his dream school, Peking University. Along the way, Shi Xinlin wishes to express sincere thanks to too many people. His mentor Professor Yang Haipeng, Associate Dean Mr. Liu Wenjun, and homeroom teacher Mr. Cao gave him a lot of technical support and help. The senior and junior brothers and sisters who walked alongside him also accompanied him through many difficulties. "My personal strength is limited. Without the help of teachers and classmates, I could not have achieved what I have achieved now," Shi Xinlin says sincerely.

"Heritage" is a major feature in science and technology laboratories. Later researchers often further deepen their research based on the research results of their predecessors, and Shi Xinlin is no exception. His research on the anti-interference performance of creatine sensors was completed based on the achievements of his predecessors. "I will also leave this breakthrough achievement in the laboratory as a cornerstone for younger brothers and sisters to make progress, just like the gifts from senior brothers and sisters to me," Shi Xinlin says. In this atmosphere of continuity, the small laboratory will serve as a fertile ground for nurturing talent, allowing the character of dedication to scientific research and teamwork to be passed down from generation to generation of researchers.

Shi’s Message to SZUers

I feel veryluckyto have been able to enter Shenzhen University. Over the past three years, I have gained knowledge, experienced joy, and made friends with a group of like-minded peers. Shenzhen University's strong faculty, sufficient scientific research funding, and abundant resources have provided me with significant help in my growth. Perhaps my traces on campus will fade over time, but the impression that Shenzhen University has left on me will always remain vivid. Our magnificent university, with its beautiful scenery and bright prospects, has a promising future. I wish Shenzhen University to forever remain youthful and prosperous, year after year, forever vibrant and flourishing!