Student Overcomes Adversity to Pursue Academic Dream

ByYan maoqiang December 28, 2021

Zhou Yibing, a post-00s undergraduate from Tsinghua University in Beijing, inspired netizens nationwide after realizing her academic dream in June.

Zhou, who scored 613 out 660 in the 2021 national college entrance exam, or gaokao, was admitted by Tsinghua University's Weiyang Academy this fall, a school she had longed to study at since childhood.

She fulfilled her dream despite being unable to participate in the 2020 gaokao due to undergoing two spinal surgeries.

"We saw the persistence of chasing after one's dream in Zhou," said Qiu Yong, president of Tsinghua University, during the 2021 fall semester opening ceremony.

After careful consideration, Zhou chose to major in instrumentation and control systems technology. She is eager to devote herself to serving her country's development and innovation.

"In the future, I want to use what I have learned to contribute to my country's scientific development and break through technological barriers," Zhou said.

Apart from her studies, Zhou has recovered well enough to participate in the college volleyball team. She felt comfortable and energetic on the court.

"The girl who used to teeter can now hop, jump and spike," Zhou said.

Last April, Zhou suddenly felt her body go numb, with no more than two months left before the gaokao.

At first, she did not pay much attention. But a piercing pain in her lumbar spine quickly became noticeable.

"It hurt so much a 40-minute-class would make me break out in a cold sweat," Zhou said.

Zhou was diagnosed with a congenital isthmic fissure. The resulting lumbar spondylolisthesis, a displacement of vertebrae, disrupted her nerve functions.

Doctors suggested Zhou leave school for surgery, stating the worsening condition may affect her ability to perform daily tasks in the future.

"I thought my dream was within my reach, but it was suspended due to my illnesses," Zhou said.

"I have to repeat all the nights I stayed up studying and all the tests I've taken before the entrance exam. Can I still maintain my original mentality?" Zhou asked, as she questioned herself while receiving treatment in hospital.

In May 2021 Zhou underwent surgery, believing a single operation would be enough to solve her spinal problems.

However, post-surgery complications caused her to experience various side effects such as neurogenic pulmonary edema.

One month later, Zhou returned to the operating room. The surgery was a success and she was no longer bed-bound after two weeks of recovery.

She immediately immersed herself in rehabilitation and seized every opportunity to catch up on her studies.

Three months later, Zhou returned to her senior classroom at the Affiliated High School of Shanghai Jiaotong University.

She regained her confidence and started making preparations for the 2021 gaokao with the support of her teachers and classmates.

"As long as you haven't lost the courage to live, everything can start from zero," Zhou said.




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