Story of Li Zhiyuan – Not only one man’s dream

Li Zhiyuan is a 2012 graduate student of information and technology at the communication university of China in Beijing, here he shares his story. 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).

When I was young, I have always had deep impression with the black and white television in my village, Doctor Wang bought the television, at that time, the village was very poor, and not every family was able to afford the television. When the dawn falls, me and some of my other friends would rushed to Doctor Wang’s home to watch the TV. I was so surprised at the moving images and the different characters in the TV, I couldn’t understand that how come people can be in the screen. I was so yearning with the outside world and full of surprises with it. We enjoyed the TV so much and as the hours passed, none of us would wanted to go back to our own home, some of our parents would came to Doctor Wang’s home to ask us to go home. In the day time, I really enjoyed digging oozes in the fields and playing marbles.

When I was 6 years old, my father decided to go out of the village to look for employment, before he went away, he said to me, “my dear son, please study hard, and try to be no. 1 in your class, if you study very well, I will buy you a television”  After I heard my father’s words, I vowed to myself to study hard and try to rank at top on my academic studies. At that time, the school had no windows and door, and also no chair, and we had to bring chair to the school. As the winter approaches, the classroom was very cold, and we had to light a fire to keep warm. In the final exam of that year, I ranked at top for my studies, and as promised, my father bought me a small black and white television. I was extremely happy for a long time, and I learned lots of new things from watching the television.

As the saying goes “The young do not know the sorrow taste, and the expensive of fuel, rice, cooking oil and salt”. When I was studying at the junior high school, we didn’t have good harvest in the field, and my father quit smoking and drinking alcohol, he worked very hard in the field every day. I studied very hard at school as well and got lots of certificate of merit, each time when we have guests coming to visit our place, the guests would always praise me in front of my parents when they see so many certificate of merits on the wall. I can see my parents are very proud of me as well. At that time, our life was quite hard and my parents were worry about that I may lose concentration on my studies so they always told me that no matter how hard the life is, they would keep supporting me going to school.

After I went to senior high school, I came home once every half year, each time I went home, I worked with my parents in the field and shared the life stories of school and township with them. They always smiled happily on their faces when they heard me telling them those stories. But I also can see their deep wrinkles on their faces.  On one of the evening, my father told me, “My dear son, please study very hard at school, if you have good achievements in the future, don’t come back here, try to live your life in the cities, me and your mother have been working in the field all our life, and its’s very very tiring but you can’t get much from it.” From that time on, I was looking forward to the life in beijing, big cities such as beijing is very remote for me and people in the village.

During the last year of my senior high school study, I had determination to study hard and aimed to enroll for a good university, the scholarship the school provided for me greatly help relief my parents’ financial burden, and also help decreased my worry. When I got the letter of admission from the communication university of China in Beijing, I was so thrilled, my parents were also very happy and proud of my achievement when they heard the news. I also become the first person from my village to get admitted to the university. What I haven’t expected is that, by going to university, it increase the financial burden on my families, the paid from working on the farms barely can support my tuition fees. My father had to once again to go out to seek employment, when my mother and I went to see him off, my father didn’t have much to say, and I didn’t even give him a hug, he was so thin with a slight stoop. when I saw my father carrying a big bag leaving, I have the feeling that  I wanted to cry.

When I was 18 years old, I went to Beijing alone to study, I was full of excitement to step in the big city, I once believed that the other side of my village is the biggest and farthermost place, but it’s not true. Those images once appeared in the black and white TV and my dreams now become the reality. As the years go by, the world in my eyes is becoming bigger and bigger, but for my dreams to come true, it seemed that everyone is paying the price, and I also feel ashamed and uneasy for my hard working parents. For me, what I can really do is to study hard at the university. For us, we can be very confused when we are young, but we can’t lose our focus, we can cry, but we can’t stop pursing our dreams. Through my parents’ hard working, I am able to step the outside world to achieve my greater dreams.

Edited and translated by Philip Caruso

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