Li Meng Ge is a graduate student of Chinese major at the communication university of China (中国传媒大学), the story as been told in the book “梦圆中传, 拥抱明天” (Dream For Communication University Of China, Embrace Tomorrow), a collection of stories of students at the communication university of China (中国传媒大学).
I still vividly remembered two year’s ago of today, my father carried the heavy luggage and lead me through the entrance gate of the university, when the counselor of the university has learned my real family situation, she patted me on my shoulder and said “Even though both of your parents have lost their jobs, but your belief in learning should not be shaken and we can speak using the academic performance. Trough the student support center platform at the university, I got a cell phone, a bedding and mattress, a toothbrush and a mug for mouth-rinsing. The counselor told me if you have any difficulties, you should come to students support center any time.
By coming from one of the remote rural area places in Henan province, after I have learnt the news that I got admitted to the communication university of China, I was very happy and also very sad at the same time. I am happy because I got admitted to one of the prestigious university in China, and sad for causing the financial burden to my poor families.
After the first month of university studies, I get used to the life at the university. I shared a room with a number of my roommates. I can also sense that I am different from them, they are an only child, and their parents have stable jobs and income, and they can live a very stable life, and able to buy new clothes and shoes, and have take away whenever they want. But for me, having beautiful clothes is sort of luxurious for me. I try to have the cheapest meals in the cafeteria and drink free hot water.
At that time, when I see the words of part time jobs, I was so excited, I want to have a part time job while studying at college. I later got a part time job in charge of the cleanliness of the dormitory and the safety of using electricity, the school paid me about 150 RMB per month for doing the duty. Every Wednesday afternoon, when the roommates were taking a nap during noon, I have started performing my duty of checking different rooms and making sure they are clean and tidy. After performing these kind of duty, I also make sure that I have a clean room and change my laziness.
During my first year of university study, I tutored a middle school student with his English and maths every Saturday morning from 8 o’clock to 12 o’clock. After that I came back to my dormitory feeling hungry, my roommates were still in bed, but I need to sacrifice the time to look for employment, sometimes I am feeling sad, but I also know my current family financial situations. I need to sacrifice more of my time and hard work to get the life I want. My roommates also know about my financial situations, they helped me to apply for scholarship and students loan, the school also paid me 300 RMB each month for monthly living expenses, 300 RMB is enough to pay for the meal expansive, and I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from. After I have learned the news, I immediately rang my parents and told them the news, my father told me, “it’s not that easy to get admissions to the communication university of China, it’s great that the school has helped you relieve some of the financial burden, so you need to treasure the opportunity and spend more time on your studies.”
I have told my father, you don’t have to worry about my tuition fees and accommodation fees, I will pay the loan by myself. During the summer school break, I have learnt that my grandmother is paralyzed, I sent half of the loan home to my parents and I also bought my grandmother some clothes and shoes, I stayed in Beijing to work for New Oriental (新东方) English Learning Center as a teaching assistant. It normally took me total about 4 hours to work and back home, each time after I got back to my dormitory, I was very tired. But each time when I think about it, I think it’s worth it.
My first year of university study has just passed, with the help of the scholarship and money from working part time, I didn’t need to ask any money from my parents, I even got another scholarship from school. I started to participate in school’s different activities, such as taking part in greening tree planting activities, speech contest, and being a member of Sino American cultural, those activities have greatly increased my self confidence. I have also realized that having a strong heart and optimistic spirit are my greatest wealth, and no poverty would be able to beat them.
With the help and different kind of support from school, and also my hard work and determination. I have the opportunity to study at the university. I have great attitude toward the university and those teachers and classmates that have helped me through out these years. My parents have always told me, you need to repay those people whoever given you help, no matter what kind of jobs I have end up doing in the future, whether I will end up in Beijing (北漂) or going back to my hometown, I will always love this piece of land. Why my eyes always filled with tears, because I have deep feeling for the place.
Edited and translated by Philip Caruso