I believe in education

Xiaozhou - East Lansing, Michigan
Entered on December 3, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in education.

Many people in the US enjoy the privilege to receive well organized education; however, not all students appreciate this opportunity. Many students dislike school, or think that college education doesn’t benefit them in life.

Born to a Chinese family, I was hard pressed to study hard, like millions of others, in order to remain competitive. This enormous pressure often backfired and reduced my enthusiasm in learning. As time passed, I began to understand my parents’ obsession with academic success. They believed that education can make a person “reborn”. I understood after a visit to my ancestral home in Northeastern China.

Life at the small town was relaxing at first, but this quickly became boredom. People labor in the field and give birth to children, disconnected from the outside world. To receive education and take part in National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) is the only way to break the circle. If they do well, they would be able to go to a city for college. NCEE is not fair; however, in that the policy favors urbanites, and many examinees from the countryside are disqualified for this reason. Their only remaining option would be to labor in the field, or go to big cities as cheap labors.

My father was among the countryside examinee that did exceptionally well in NCEE, and was allowed to study in the city of Hefei where he later became a professor. Had he not studied hard, he would be “sentenced” to field labor for his life, and so would I.

My father’s stories motivated me to study hard, which allowed me to study in the US. With more hard work, I can pursue a career in science, and distinguish myself. However, it wouldn’t have been possible had my father opted not for education.

Often the lack of financial support is the reason some people can’t afford education, not the lack of motivation and inspiration. 150 Yuan (20 dollars) per semester is the cost of attending elementary and junior high schools in rural China. This is not a big amount for many urbanites but proves to be a huge burden for many rural families, and one of them is Yixue’s family who lived next door to my grandma. I borrowed 1000 Yuan from my father and gave it to her before I left. 1000 Yuan is worth my one month’s hard work, but could finance Yixue through junior high school, and could possibly make her life a lot different.

I made the donation out of my belief that one’s life can be salvaged from destitution by education. This belief encourages my own progress and reminds me to make a difference in others’ life when I can.