Until recently, Wang Xinyi’s life was unfolding in much the same way as it would for any young woman from her impoverished village in North China’s Hebei province.
That was until she scored 707 points on this year’s gaokao, the national college entrance examination, securing herself a place at the venerable Peking University.
Now the 18-year-old’s life has completely changed course. Not only will she be attending one of the country’s top colleges to study Chinese language and literature later this year, but her academic achievement has also brought her online fame since media outlets started reporting her story.
Wang was born into poverty. Her family have often struggled to make ends meet, relying on the money her father earns farming and doing other part-time jobs.
Her mother, who is in poor health, doesn’t work, instead staying at home to care for Wang’s ailing grandfather. The family have other mouths to feed too in the form of Wang’s two younger brothers, who are both still in school.
Growing up in such an environment engendered a strong work ethic within Wang, both academically and at home.
An optimistic and cheerful child, according to her high school teacher Zhang Xiuying, Wang also loves painting, singing, giving speeches and reading in addition to her studies.
She said in an article published online that although poverty had hurt her “self-esteem” and “took away the lives” of some of her family, she was still very thankful for the opportunity to change her stars.
“I am a girl of humble birth, but valuable things can come from humble beginnings,” she said.
Netizens were moved by Wang’s story and praised the way she faced adversity with courage and determination.
“Your courage has helped you fight against poverty. The more effort you put in, the luckier you will be. You can do it!” said Weibo user Sujianningxin.
Over the summer, Wang has been working as a part-time teacher in Baoding, 150km away from Hengshui, where her home village is located.
“The most important thing is not the money I can earn, but the experience I can get by being a teacher,” Wang was quoted as saying by www.cnr.cn.
“During college, I’d think I might like to be a part-time teacher in a remote rural area, so I can let more children know that there’s a bigger world to see outside their poor hometowns.”
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