Story 4: Support
Wang Qunxiang’s university story at the age of 71 has become a favourite tale both inside and outside Qingfeng RTVU, and he has been widely recognized and supported.
At the meeting, Nie Peiyan, Vice Governor in charge of education affairs in Qingfeng County, encouraged everyone to learn from Wang Qunxiang, while holding up Mr. Wang’s notebook! Vice President Guan Aihua of Puyang RTVU gave Mr. Wang special presents to help him in his studies. Personnel Chief Qiao Yongji of the Qingfeng Education Bureau sent him a Lenovo computer. Qingfeng RTVU downloaded the video lectures of the courses Mr. Wang had enrolled in, loaded them on the computer, and had the computer delivered to Mr. Wang’s home. They also sent a special teacher to help Mr. Wang learn how the online learning programme works, and made arrangements for the teacher to regularly return and provide additional assistance.
Seeing the great outpouring of care and support, Wang Qunxiang was very moved by these gifts. He said, “You have both supported and encouraged me. Now I also feel more pressure. I am an ordinary junior college student in the RTVU, the same as my classmates. The only difference is my old age. I don't want to use this to my own advantage or for special consideration. Now that I've received more support than my classmates, I will turn the pressure into motivation. I must take the lead and set an example in observing the rules and regulations, in practicing etiquette and integrity, in study and work, and in repaying society!
Story 5: Examination
January 5-9 of 2012 was the time for the unified final term examination of China Central Radio and TV University (CCRTVU, aka The Open University of China) throughout the country. After the examination, Wang Qunxiang said to the president with a tone of disappointment, “I have taken the examinations for five courses, and didn’t do well in two of them. I’m afraid I will fail.” I asked him, “I hear that you turned down a classmate who wanted to help you. Is that true?” He replied, “Yes, it’s true. Help is needed when studying, but it’s cheating to accept help during examinations. As a student, it’s counter-productive to pass the examination by relying on others. It also ruins and disgraces the university. I would never do that.”
I am a chief examiner of CCRTVU’s Qingfeng examination centre, and more than 700 students sat for the final term examination. According to our investigation, Wang broke no rules during the examination.
Story 6: Asking for Leave
On the first morning of the new autumn school term in 2012, Wang Qunxiang called to say, “President, my wife is hospitalized and she needs my care day and night. Thus, I have to ask you for leave.”
The next afternoon, Mr. Liu, the class tutor, and I took some presents to the hospital. When Mr. Wang saw us, he came quickly and said gratefully, “You were so nice to grant my request for leave. Now you are here to see my wife, and I really don’t what to say!” I said to him, “The teachers and students are like family. This is what we should do.” I asked, “What's wrong with your wife?” “Lung cancer, at the advanced stage,” said Wang Qunxiang. I added, “Treatment must be expensive, is there anything that we can do?” Mr. Wang kept saying, “No, not at all. The current policy is good, and we’ve got medical insurance. We only need to pay limited fees.” I asked again, “Are you the only one to look after your wife in the hospital?” “Yes, it’s just me here. All the children have asked to look after her, but I have persuaded them to go back home,” answered Wang, “My wife has spent half of her lifetime with me. I haven’t given her an easy and comfortable life. Instead, she has suffered a lot. She doesn’t have much time to live. I want to accompany her by myself.”
At last, I comforted him and said, “Take things as they come. Do what you can to help your wife live longer. Please phone me if you need anything. The school will do its best to help you. You should also take care of yourself." Wang Qunxiang said, “This is simply our destiny. Please take it easy. Whatever happens, I'll be OK.”
Story 7: Loss of His Wife
When the spring semester of 2013 started, I saw Wang Qunxiang at the school. The first thing he said when he met me was “My wife has passed away. Now I am an old man with an absolutely empty nest.” “When was that? Why didn’t you tell me earlier,” I asked in surprise. Wang said to me, “It was before the Spring Festival. We don't have lavish funerals in the countryside. And besides, we couldn’t afford …….” As I thought he might drop out, I asked him, “What are you going to do in the future?” Wang replied, “There is always a way out. I’ll have time for quiet learning in the future, so that I can sit for all the examinations I missed during this term,” he said as he took out a piece of paper for me. He added, “This is a short article I wrote during the Spring Festival. It is about my future plans. Please give me some advice on how to revise it and submit it as one of my assignments.”
The article is as follows:
I am a star-crossed man trekking and thinking hard as I walk along a winding and bumpy road. I have kept my university dream alive since I was a child, a teenager, a man in the prime of my life, and now an old man in my seventies. A fortune teller once said to me, “A distinguished man will give you hope, and he will help you realize your dream.” Who is the distinguished man? Where is he? The sun has risen in the east. It is shining on the vast sea and grassland. The overwhelming spring wind has blown clean the extensive land. A harmonious and beautiful age has come. The distinguished man is standing before me. I have finally entered the university, turning my dream into a reality. However, I have become a lonely old man in an empty nest. In the future, I’ll plow the land alone, and do the cooking and washing alone. It's just me now. What can I do? Can I go on with my RTVU learning? I am once again standing at a crossroads in life, pondering and wandering. Shall I retreat? No, that's the choice of a coward. Shall I stand still? No, that’s just waiting to die. Suddenly, a very capable man, my teacher from the past, seems to appear before me. He said to me, “Qunxiang, stand up, lift up your head, trample these difficulties under your feet. March on toward your dream, march on, march on, and march on!
Story 8: Graduation
After three years of hard work, Wang Qunxiang passed all the examinations for his courses and graduated in the autumn of 2014. With the “CCRTVU Graduation Certificate” in his hand, the first thing he said was, “It was so hard!” These are words from the bottom of his heart. According to my understanding, it’s not an easy thing to become a contemporary university student worthy of the name. It was even more difficult for Wang Qunxiang. When he received the university diploma, the second thing he said was, “All of the pain from the last three years was not in vain. It was worth it!” What did he mean? Wang Qunxiang gave a lot but also gained a lot over the past three years. First, he has fulfilled his university dream of 52 years and improved his cultural level. Second, he graduated with honours. He has been recognized as one of the “Ten Best Students". Third, he has encouraged young people through his fine example of pursuing his university dream.
(This article won second prize in OUC "My Teaching Stories" essay competition )
By Zhang Qingyin,Henan RTVU