On the morning of 4th November, 2017, in the examination room at Xinjiekou School, Nanjing branch of the Open University of China (OUC), an English exam for the adult education undergraduate Bachelor’s degree for the Beijing area in fall 2017 was under way. A silver-haired old lady was sat in the classroom surrounded by younger students.

Realising her “university dream” at the age of 70

Born in 1948, the senior student is from the school directly affiliated to the OUC’s Nanjing branch. After retiring from a college in Nanjing in spring 2013, she signed up for the Advertising Design and Production major at the junior college level at the OUC’s Nanjing branch, in order to realise her dream of attending university. After fulfilling the requirements of a junior college graduate in the fall of 2015, she continued to sign up for the Advertising major for Bachelor’s degree. After reaching the graduation requirements, she once again enrolled herself in the English exam to apply for a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising.

In her words, “I regretted not being able to attend college. After years of retirement, I signed up for open education at the Nanjing branch of the OUC in order to realise my university dream. After graduating, I will try my best to prepare for the postgraduate exam!”

In her opinion, studying at the OUC is different from other schools, as it requires a high degree of self-study. At the same time, the open university provides rich learning resources to members of society. Through studying in the Open University, in addition to acquiring more knowledge and skills, she also expanded her social circle.

Not yielding to old age or inconvenience

She cherished the opportunity to study. Compared to young and middle-aged on-the-job students, she has plenty of time to study. However, the Advertising Design and Production major requires extensive computing skills, which was bound to be difficult for her. Indeed, she met a variety of practical problems on a daily basis.

As she entered junior college, faced with frustration over how to use computers, instead of feeling discouraged, she instead used them as motivation to fight against the old age and not to surrender to failure. Whenever her physical situation permits, she attends face-to-face tutoring sessions, listening to the instructions and asking for help from the tutors and students with an open mind. With the patient help of the tutors, her learning gradually improved and she began to get a better understanding of computer graphic design. Thanks to this breakthrough, her study of several courses, such as digital advertising design and production and desktop publishing and reprinting, also improved. After graduating from college, she was awarded the title of “Outstanding OUC Graduate.” During her undergraduate study, she was also awarded an OUC Scholarship.

She summed up her five years at the OUC as follows: “I tried my best to attend the face-to-face lectures, since a lot of professional knowledge does not come from books and it is important to combine knowledge with practice. My teachers always uploaded a lot of learning resources onto the OUC learning network and if I had time I would sign in to the website to have a look. If I had questions, I would raise them directly on the BBS. During examination periods, I would check exam papers from previous years in the e-library.” Thanks to her diligent study and good grades, she became a role model for her classmates.

Teachers’ Services Escorts Her Learning Progress

“Many thanks for the Nanjing branch of the OUC for helping me realise my university dream! I would like to thank my teachers for their intensive training, in-depth guidance, and regular help. My experience of studying at the OUC’s Nanjing branch will inspire me to work harder, be more persistent, and find more passion in my future life.”

The teachers and tutors of the affiliated school all have a deep impression of this student, on one hand because of her positive learning attitude and on the other hand, because they do make effort to focus on students like her, with the aim of striving to provide every student with personalised learning support services. The affiliated school also arranged for the senior student and other students who lack practical experience in operating computers to get more practice during classroom teaching. The tutors also paid close attention to her physical condition and even when she was ill, the tutors would offer reminders about the latest learning information to keep her up to date. The head teacher, who was also engaged in part-time tutoring at the affiliated school, kept in touch with her, cared about her learning progress, and helped her solve all kinds of problems encountered in learning. This fostered a deep affection in the heart of the senior student, who expressed her thanks to the school and the teachers in her study summary.

By Wang Wenting, Nanjing RTVU