This I Believe

Jiancheng - Readfield, Maine
Entered on July 12, 2006

Education is the Basis of Life

I believe in education. Education provides knowledge for building up conscience in life, and education provides skills for life.

I grew up during the turmoil period of the Great Cultural Revolution in China. I saw many people’s money, furniture, jewelry, collections, and houses were confiscated by the young radicals. Some of these people committed suicide because they could not tolerate the harshness. At that time, my parents told me that everything outside one’s body has the potential of lost but one’s internalized knowledge and skill can never be confiscated. One of my uncles said those youngsters without conscience because of their ignorance. During that period, Mao’s Little Red Book became the center of the education in schools.

My parents were concerned of my education. They searched materials which schools did not offered at the time and encouraged me to learn. They told me that some day, after the radical revolution was over, skills would be called on. They said that skills and knowledge are the only things that truly belong to me regardless what social conditions I am within. I knew that this was also their own experience because they saw their families’ fortunes lost from wars and the communist revolution in the later 1930s’ to the early 1950s’.

Under their encouragement, I kept learning and gained my education mainly from my family. After the Great Cultural Revolution was over and the conventional education system was resumed, I applied for medical schools because I wanted to be a physician to help people. I was admitted into a medical school, after I passed in the national examination; even, at that time, I never received any certificate or diploma from elementary, middle, or high schools.

I came from China to the US for graduate study, when I found that public health is effective in addressing challenges to community and population health issues. After I finished my degree, I worked in vision science, clinical research, research administration, and immunization. I love my job because I am using my skills to help people and because I feel fulfilled by working in public health to help more people.

My personal life is the testimony of the importance of education in life. Education provides me with a compass that sets my goal in helping people. Education provides me with a boat that allows me navigate from one country to the other, and from one field to another.