Chinese Teen Spends 17 Hours a Day Studying to Free His Family From Poverty
A high school student in central China has become a national inspiration after his grueling 17-hour study schedule for the winter holiday went viral on social media.
Zhu Zheng, 17, is a Grade 11 student at Wuhan No. 11 Middle School in Hubei province.
In September, Zhu won the top prize at a national math competition, which earned him a recommendation to attend an intensive training camp at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing.
According to one of his teachers, he was the only student at the camp to wear his high school uniform, all because he had promised his parents that he would not buy clothes for 12 months to save money.
When Zhu returned for the new school term, Tang Yanping, a former teacher, saw his winter holiday schedule and decided to share it on WeChat.
Apparently, he had no holiday at all, spending 17 hours a day to study.
According to NetEase News, Zhu began his day at 6:40 a.m. and ended it at 11:50 p.m. In between, he took extracurricular math classes and spent time reviewing other subjects.
The only breaks he took were a 30-minute nap after lunch and a few more minutes for smaller meals.
“Life has no winter or summer holiday. It’s not that success comes late but that you are not tough enough on yourself,” he wrote at the top of his schedule, according to the South China Morning Post.
The rest of it had more of the same reminders, such as “self-discipline, self-improvement,” “learn the notes, don’t copy the notes” and “never touch mobile phone.”
Zhu’s dedication rests on the fact that he will be taking the gaokao next year.
The Gaokao, China’s National College Entrance Examination, is a standardized “make-or-break” test that typically determines a student’s university and, consequently, career and salary as working adults.
According to Tang, Zhu’s parents are poor migrant workers from the nearby city of Xianning.
“He lives an extremely frugal life, with just a bowl of porridge and a steamed bun for breakfast and lunch costing no more than four yuan ($0.60),” the teacher told reporters.