'Brother Tent' overcomes the odds
Starting the day by auditing classes at Peking University (PKU) while ending it sleeping in a tent pitched at Tsinghua University (THU), Zhao Ming (pseudonym), a student from Dongying, Shandong Province, became well known as "Brother Tent" among his more orthodox peers.
Zhao, 21, a former computer science and technology major at a Shandong-based university who left it after the first semester due to boredom, came to Beijing to audit classes at PKU in January last year.
Zhao said that he doesn`t regret his decision because he has learned a lot since coming to Beijing. Classes he has attended include computer science, journalism and microeconomics.
He said he has also proven that he survives rough times and has broadened his horizons.
Hardships and setbacks
In order to earn his living in a strange city, Zhao first worked in a supermarket at PKU selling fruits and spent his spare time attending classes.
Last summer holiday, he became a security guard at THU and got to know many fellow guards, which proved convenient for him when he began sleeping in the tent afterward at the university. After earning some money to support himself, Zhao quit the job and began his "full-time" auditing experience last November.
He bought a camping tent and a sleeping bag and moved to the corridor of a dormitory building`s top floor at THU.
Zhao lived in the tent for more than one month before he left for his hometown last week for a reunion with his family during Spring Festival.
But after media reports about him, THU prohibited Zhao from pitching his tent in the dorm and banned it from the security guard room.
Zhao said friends he made at both universities now keep his belongings.
Controversies and worries
Brother Tent`s story has sparked some controversy among students.
Some think his decision extreme. "He is risking his future career. Auditing classes doesn`t mean a degree, which is not good for his employment," said Hu Xiuyi, a sophomore majoring in finance at PKU.http://www.24en.com爱思英语网
But many others believe he sets a good example for other students.
"His decision to quit school and come to Beijing alone shows great courage. His strong will in overcoming living difficulties is also worth imitating," said Liu Ting, a senior at Shandong-based China University of Petroleum.
Yu Shijie, director with the journalism center at THU said that Zhao`s spirit and eagerness to study is worth learning from. However, his accommodation problems should be resolved according to regulations. "Pitching a tent on campus is not a long-term solution. He could apply for help from relevant departments. Our university has not taken effective measures to help him," admitted Yu.http://www.24en.com爱思英语网
Some others have achieved success after auditing classes at PKU and THU. Their stories not only made them well known but also promoted the images of the two universities as more accepting of average citizens.
"Magic English cook" Zhang Liyong, 36, a former migrant worker from Guangdong Province is an example.
He taught himself English when he worked as a cook at a cafeteria in THU in 1996. He passed the CET-6 in the end.