College Girl Hangs Hair Up to Stay Awake to Study

January 10, 2014
Editor: Nancy Sun
College Girl Hangs Hair Up to Stay Awake to Study
A photo of a college girl hanging her hair up with clothes pegs goes viral online. []
A photo of a college girl hanging her hair up with clothes pegs has gone viral online.

The sophomore surnamed Huang from Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University was studying for her final exams. Netizens lamented that they don't understand a Xueba's (academic emperor's) world.

Originally Xueba referred to authoritative people in one field, such as Einstein in physics. Now it mostly refers to students who study really hard, and rarely participate in social activities. They usually achieve high scores in important exams.

It is also analogous to the ancient Chinese idiom Xuan Liang Ci Gu, or "To tie one's hair on the house beam and jab one's side with an awl" in English. It refers two historical stories.

During the Warring States Period of Chinese history, there was a political strategist called Su Qin (380-284B.C.). Although his family was very poor, he dreamed of being successful even when very young. He studied from dawn until dark and often felt extremely tired after long hours of study. He discovered he could stay awake by stabbing himself in the thigh with an awl. The pain would then keep him awake so he could continue studying. Lasting the end, he became highly respected because of his knowledge. He was made prime minister of the six kingdoms of ancient China: Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao and Wei, as well as his own country, Qin.

Another inspiring story takes us to the Han Dynasty (202-220B.C.). It is about a young man called Sun Jing, who was very hard working. He stayed at home and reading became his hobby. Because he seldom went out, when he did go to the market, people called him "Mr Door Shut" behind his back. Sun studied late into the middle of the night and he couldn't help but doze off once in a while. To stay awake, he tied one end of a rope to his hair and the other end to the beam of the roof. When he fell asleep sitting at his desk, the rope would tug at his hair when his head drooped downwards. The pain served to wake him up so he could continue studying. Over years of continuous hard work, he eventually became a knowledgeable and well-known scholar.

These two stories gave rise to the idiom and they have inspired people from different generations. If you dedicate yourself to the job that you are doing, success will not be far away.

The photo showing a modern version of the ancient story has also inspired many students who were studying for final exams to employ the same method to keep awake when studying late.

Huang said she got the idea from the idiom. "It's not very effective. Studying for long hours is boring, but a little bit of entertainment eases the pressure."

(Source: and edited by

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