The most difficult thing to change in life is oneself. Li Bailiu passed the entrance examination of Shengzhou School, Zhejiang Radio and TV University (RTVU) and entered the “university at home”, writing a legend of his own life.

 “To go to university at home”

Li Bailiu, born in 1958, was considered “a lucky dog”. When he finished senior high school in 1980, he enjoyed the national “succession” policy, which was in place at the time, took on his father’s position and was sent to work in Shengxian Teachers’ School. It was a great occasion and an achievement to be proud of at that time, but he, who wanted to be a teacher very much, couldn’t work as a teacher even in a teachers’ school due to the limitations of his own cultural level. He therefore had to work in the financial affairs office of the school. Later Shengxian Teachers’ School was merged with Shangyu School of Shaoxing University, yet his work remained the same. Thus, Li Bailiu had been working in the financial affairs office of the school for over 30 years.

In September 2014, the 57-year-old Li Bailiu could no longer “hold back”. He said “no” to his own life for the first time and decided to sit for the entrance examination of Shengzhou School of Zhejiang RTVU. God helps those who like to learn and Li Bailiu succeeded in entering the 2014 autumn term junior college class of administration management. He went to “university at home” and started his long yearned for journey of learning.

“To set an example for my grandson”

To go to the RTVU at the age of 57 and to get a diploma at the age of 60 is of little value in the eyes of a great number of people. However, Li Bailiu said, “I am not pursuing utilitarianism in going to the RTVU for a diploma. If a purpose has to be found for the learning, it is to set a role model for my grandson. His grandpa is a university student.”

The Lis were a family of culture at the very least, if they couldn’t be regarded as a family of scholars. Li Bailiu’s father was a teacher; Li Bailiu himself worked at the teachers’ school; his son worked in the local city government as a civil servant; and now his grandson was already five months old. The family of four generations lived together and was basking in the love of one another; what a happy and carefree family they were in the eyes of other people! But Li Bailiu didn’t think so. According to him, there should be pursuit in times of happiness. Then what was his pursuit? What could be the pursuit of an old man verging on retirement? This was the question Li had asked himself time and again.

To go to the RTVU “to set an example for my grandson” was one of the purposes Li Bailiu decided upon in attending the “university at home”. Besides the routine three meals a day, everyone, in fact, needs a fourth meal. That is, to keep on learning.
Learning is a man’s fourth meal and from his first day at the RTVU, Li Bailiu never stopped cooking his fourth meal. Those who are nearly 60 years old have to take more pains than those who are young, but they also cherish more. Each course was like a topic, and he had to learn carefully with a huge amount of effort. For fear of leaving out important facts, he was studious all the time. God helps those who help themselves and Li Bailiu got scores of more than 90 for the courses of Western Economics, Public Relations, and Administration Management. Due to his excellent curve wrecker results, the younger students had a newfound respect for him, and couldn’t help liking the “the old bookworm”. Furthermore, the greater challenge for Li Bailiu in studying for his diploma at the RTVU was learning to use a computer and surf the Internet. At the beginning, the first “tiger blocking the way” came: Learner Guidance of the Open University of China. Then, the use of a computer was needed for Fundamental Application of Computer Technology and Vocational Technology Practice, which were learned, practiced and tested on computers. They were real difficulties for Li Bailiu, who had no computer basics at all.

Nothing is difficult if you put your heart into it. Li Bailiu began with turning the computer on and off, but the most difficult and time consuming task was learning to type. To finish online assignments and online examinations, his first priority was to learn how to type. So, what to do? He learned from teachers, students, and his daughter-in-law. When he first started to practice, he seemed to be using “orchid fingers” (a kind of finger movement used by Peking Opera actors) and he raised his fingers with misted eyes. If he paid too much attention to the keyboard, he would neglect the screen. Those who saw him all laughed at him, but still encouraged him to keep working at it. So long as you have made great effort, perseverance will prevail. He worked exceptionally hard and gradually overcome every obstacle. To praise the learner who refused to give in to old age, the school recommended Li Bailiu as a winner of the “2015 OUC Scholarship”.

Li Bailiu refused to give in to age and he was not afraid of difficulty. He studied hard and made impressive achievements and his story has since become famous in Shengzhou School.

By Xu Lingyun, Shengzhou School of Zhejiang RTVU