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It changed me

Popularity 4Viewed 7182 times 2016-6-3 00:22 |Personal category:education|System category:Life| Gaokao, education


The national college entrance examination is around the corner. Like the previous years, some netizens posted on virtual platforms what they considered the most valuable lesson for those going to take this life-changing exam. 


I came across this following one the other day which says "In four years, you will realize that you have made all these efforts in vain because what decides your future is not your score in this test but your appearance, braveness, ability of drinking alcohol, parents, and whether your house will be bought by the government for other purposes. " 


Many people online were inclined to agree with this. In this era, the society seems to be inundated with people materialistic and money-worshipping. Together with the not so promising job market, people not so open-minded or far-sighted gradually develop the belief that education is of no value. This is particularly obvious in some Chinese rural area. At least this is the case in the village where I grew up. 


In that teeny tiny village, most parents believe that since parents send their children to schools for education, they don't really need to spend much time on their children's education. They keep doing their job, playing cards or exchanging the gossips over some sort of afternoon tea. When they realize their children far lag behind other children in the class, they say they will just ask their children to find a job. It's not like that college graduates can earn more than those not so-well-educated. So why bother? 


I was a typical left-behind child like many in remote rural area in China. My parents left me with my grandparents or uncles so as to work in another province. Even since I was around three, they were not around that much. For a very long time, it never really came to my mind that this was not right because it seemed that then my classmates were all from that type of family. 


Many years later, I realized that I had serious problems in socializing. I had absolutely no idea about even how to communicate with my classmates let alone authorities like teachers. What was worse, I desperately desired to draw attention from others and meanwhile treated other's opinions too seriously. Therefore I lived in constant disappointment. Ever since I had cognitive awareness, I had been terribly self-abased for a tragic period, which my parents didn't and couldn't sense partly because the only thing their cared was study and partly because they grew up in a considerably different time.


Nevertheless, education eventually changed and rebuilt me. I still remember my first day on university campus. I, being surrounded by an ocean of people was extremely uncomfortable. I almost took everything and came back to resit the test next year. But I stayed in the end.


I made only a couple of friends in my whole university life. Most of the time, I was a loner. Because of my great passion toward English, I dedicated myself to learning it, speaking in particular. So I was oftentimes in the library reading English magazine, or in the dorm watching English TV shows. 


Gradually, I could see my progress in it and started gaining confidence. The more rewards I saw, the more time I invested in it. But, even though I did become more confident, speaking in a public place was still an enormous stumbling block for me. I would do whatever it took to shy away from the opportunity of delivering any speech in public place.  Due to this phobia, I even gave up the precious chance to participate in the semi-final of an English-speaking contest held by our department. 


When I finally worked up enough courage and registered for that speaking competition in the third year, I was still exceptionally afraid of speaking in front of people. Even now, I can still picture myself delivering the prepared speech in front of only a handful of people. During that almost life-long ten minutes, my body was shaking almost from head to toe. I made it to the semi-final and stopped there because I was too nervous and too afraid to remember to have eye-contact with audiences or to show any emotion. Later, my friend told me I was akin to a mummy and judges believed I was like an anchor there reporting news. 

 

Timid and shy as I was, I somehow determined to become an English teacher. My initial purpose was simple- to help more students to learn English well, which invariably renders me a great sense of accomplishment. The very beginning was almost unimaginable because of my uncontrollable nervousness. I was brutally critiqued by some teachers due to that fact that my inexperienced demo class was full of loopholes. During the first half year after graduation, I was barely worth the salt by resting on the laurels. Soon it was now enough for me deal with more sophisticated problems. 


Then I got this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and decided to further my education abroad. My life abroad like many international students was not smooth. I once misinterpreted an assignment and failed it because I didn't want to ask the teacher for help in the first place. I got into a drama with my supervisor for my teaching practicum for which I eventually shed tears for more than one time. 


But the high-quality education indeed illuminated me. The opportunities afforded not only helped me understand theories in education but also considerably enhanced my ability and confidence in public speaking. It was also this period abroad that made me realize the significance of continuous learning and the importance of critical thinking. 


As a matter of fact, I couldn't quite put words to describe what I had gained in Australia at the beginning. After two years of working in China, I found that I had so many reasons to thank that decision. I significantly appreciate the habits of reading and writing that I fostered abroad. I am also grateful to the independent learning ability that I developed there. I am particularly thankful to the ability of critical thinking that has helped me  to see many things from various perspectives. 


To be able to see the underlying connections between different things is the most important force that has driven me to learn something about economics. I have also began to think more scientifically. For example, the other day, I was discussing about how car-hailing app---Didichuxing will be able to make money in the near future with one of my students majoring in finance. We discussed many possibilities. She insisted that they in fact are already making money, which I disagreed. And I thought they would make money by selling data to other companies for research so as to reap more profits. We ended up searching relevant information online and finally understood it a bit better (I suppose this kind of information is top secret of the company.) 


This is of course not much. But harboring interest is a great stepping stone towards future success. Stay foolish and stay hungry. 


Evidently, higher education won't just handle success over to us. Most of us won't become the Chinese student who was invited to do a speech in the commencement ceremony of Harvard university. However, education does exert positive but invisible influence on us. At least to me,thanks to education, I was finally able to overcome stage fright. What's more, it makes me feel good about myself. That is enough. 


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Comment Comment (10 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2016-6-3 17:21
Thank you very much!!! we have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report Min1989 2016-6-4 12:32
Thank you for that
Reply Report Oliviacmli 2016-6-5 11:55
Nice article! I always thought English is a window to the outside world. Where you can learn about critical thinking and different opinions!! Good day and good teaching!
Reply Report Min1989 2016-6-5 12:29
Oliviacmli: Nice article! I always thought English is a window to the outside world. Where you can learn about critical thinking and different opinions!! Good day ...
Thank for . Yes, learning English has tons of benefits and receiving education is always rewarding. It's just that we should be patient about the rewards brought by it.
Reply Report Funny-boy 2016-6-6 10:30
You set a good example for us ,knowledge change fate, I believe.
Reply Report Min1989 2016-6-6 11:31
Funny-boy: You set a good example for us ,knowledge change fate, I believe.
Indeed, we may not end up being great people, but we tend to be better after receiving education. In fact, for a long time, I couldn't figure out why we should be sent to schools to receive education. Later I realised that the influece of education takes a lot of time to show up in people. I suppose why many people believe educational investment in ourselves is always wise and rewarding.
Reply Report Funny-boy 2016-6-7 08:28
Min1989: Indeed, we may not end up being great people, but we tend to be better after receiving education. In fact, for a long time, I couldn't figure out why  ...
The eduction influence is far-reaching and potential, the good reading habit will help us to gain more knowledge.
How can help our next generation to develop a good reading habit?
Reply Report Min1989 2016-6-7 12:46
Funny-boy: The eduction influence is far-reaching and potential, the good reading habit will help us to gain more knowledge.
How can help our next generation t ...
Thank you for your comment. I suppose its is a bit difficult to develop the habbit of reading. Parents can try to foster their children's reading habbit at a young age. They can regularly take them to libraries or bookstores. What's more, parents can spend some time reading with their children together. They can even read the same book and then discuss with each other about the book. I aso believe we should be allowed to read what we are interested in so as to maintain our enthusiasm as well as  in reading. Therefore parents and teahers should not just ask children to read the books which are considered beneficial to children's future development.
Reply Report jaseminsibo 2016-7-20 07:09
"Most of us won't become the Chinese student who was invited to do a speech in the commencement ceremony of Harvard university".

Hmm, no one knows what will happen in the future. Continue to sharpen your skills, exert positive vibes within your circle of influence and always stay prepared when opportunity knocks on your door.
Reply Report Min1989 2016-7-21 10:57
jaseminsibo: "Most of us won't become the Chinese student who was invited to do a speech in the commencement ceremony of Harvard university".

Hmm, no on ...
Thank you for your comment. I realise after growing older, I have somehow stopped dreaming big. But I do continue to hone mt skills and learning things that I am interested. hopefully I will be able to seize the opportunity when it shows in my life.

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  • The Purpose of Reading 2018-4-12 13:45

    we have the same feeling about. reading,reading. really tells us a lot especially when welearn foreign languages.it. can help us to understand other. country's culture and customs.therefore,when we talk. in foreign languages.we. needn't worry about. making too. much mistakes.it also can enrich our life.let's enjoy reding

  • Why don't We Stand Out and Fight? 2018-4-4 14:14

    It is actually emotionally and mentally healthy to have nursing homes for old people in residential areas, and makes it easy for families to visit their elderly relations regularly.
    Death happens to everyone and it is stupid to hide it away. Death is not bad luck - it will happen to you and me.
    In some European countries there are homes for the elderly next to kindergartens, and everyone benefits from interacting with each other on a daily basis.
    The elderly benefit from interacting with children and keeps them mentally alert, whereas the young learn about death as a normal part of life.

    For a country that supposedly 'respects' their elders, China has a very superstitious attitude to death and dying.
    where i am from, the elderly are allowed and supported by family and state) to be independent and in their own homes.
    Where medical treatment is needed, residential homes allow the elderly appropriate facilities in towns and cities while their families can visit easily and local residents can interact with them.
    In addition, local communities benefit from being able to interact with these residents and the residents can still be part of a local community, not hidden away as something to be ashamed of or 'taboo'.

    Shame on China for such medieval superstitious attitudes regarding death.
    Does China 'respect' the elderly so much that they should be hidden away from people's lives?

    Do you want to be isolated and hidden away when you are old and your family don't want to or can't visit you?

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