by Kai Chi Chuang The 26th MCU Literary and Arts Awards Ceremony was held on 4/30. President Lee not only joined the ceremony but also encouraged students that they should always grab the chances available to them. This year, 68 prizes were presented at the MCU Literary and Arts Awards Ceremony. Overseas students not only participated actively, but also had outstanding performances, which include the first prizes in both English prose and English poetry. Both of the winners are ICDF scholarship students. According to Ms. Wu, managing director of International Education and Management Science Foundation, it’s an honor for us to see ICDF scholarship students have such a good performance. Following are reflections from the two ICDF students who took top honors. Love of Writing Motivates by Stephanie Cardona Writing has always been an on-and-off hobby of mine. When I was younger I used to keep journals and wrote about absolutely everything. I mostly wrote prose, essays and a few short stories. When I was 17, I began getting into poetry and decided to give writing it a try. I have written a few poems over the years but I was always too shy to show them to others. The MCU Literary and Arts Awards is the first contest I have entered participating in a poetry category. I found out about the competition in late October, 2014 and immediately became interested in the English writing section. Since the deadline wasn’t until March, I took my time considering whether to enter the contest or not. I decided to go for it, I had nothing to lose. I sent in three poems. One was The Art of You, a love poem I wrote a few months ago. The other was Just Right, a poem about writer’s block that was inspired by this competition, because even though I was really excited about participating, I couldn’t come up with anything to write about. Lastly, I sent in Selfish, which I debated entering in the competition because it is very personal, but I did it anyway. I was honestly not expecting to win the competition. I admit I was intimidated to even participate due to the dominance of native English-speaking winners in past years. However, I have always been confident about my English writing and I am very glad I decided to participate in the MCU Literary and Arts Awards. Winning the competition has definitely motivated me to continue writing. Finding Freedom Through Art of Writing by Keryn Nelson Art, for some, is an integral form of creative self-expression. In an effort to encourage students to engage and express themselves through images and writing, Ming Chuan University hosts an annual Literary and Arts Awards competition. Students are given the opportunity to submit works in the form of film, photography, novels, poetry and prose. As a student (junior) of Ming Chuan’s International College, majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication, for the first time in 3 years, I decided to participate in MCU’s Literary and Arts Awards competition. Fortunately, I have keen interest in the arts as a whole, such that film, photography, prose, as well as poetry, are all areas I have explored, though some more than others. The competition seemed like a great opportunity to share my perspectives with others and if I were to be completely honest, also to earn some extra money to assist with my expenses. Initially I planned to enter material in every category possible as I wanted to obtain the maximum amount of award money that I could. As I wrote out ideas for possible films, thought of new locations to snap eye-catching images while simultaneously writing fresh poetry and prose material, I quickly realized that this method stripped me of all the true emotional and spiritual benefits of creative work. Therefore, I chose five photos, and two poems I has already composed but had never shared with anyone, and entered these into the competition, none of which were selected as winning pieces, but all of which I am still very proud of. For my prose piece, upon initial preview of the competition’s requirements, I started to write on the given topic; “Taiwan and me”. As the days went by, whenever I felt inspired to add to my work, I would. However, the due date arrived, and so, unable to pull the ending of my story together to my liking, I submitted it as it was and gave it the name The Gift of the Unknown. On April 30, Ming Chuan hosted their 28th Literary and Arts Awards Ceremony where I was awarded the 1st place prize in the English prose section for The Gift of The Unknown, my unfinished prose piece. I am truly honored for the opportunity and recognition given to me and my peers by MCU’s Literary and Arts Awards committee. Nonetheless, what I am most thankful for is the opportunity we have here to express ourselves freely, which others in different corners of the world do not get to enjoy. To other students and artists who entered this contest, continue standing behind and holding in high regard your talents and creativity. You have already won if you have found freedom through your art.