A: When I was in high school I had already decided to continue my studies at Beijing University and become a successful scientist. In those days in China the most respected and honorable occupations were scientists and university professors, so I choose the science career path. It was toward the end of the Cultural Revolution in the late 70s, so I knew that new scientific employment opportunities were beginning to open up again as well.
Q: Did you always want to go to college?
A: Yes, that is what I worked so hard to prepare for during middle school and high school. During my final term in high school, I completed the national college entrance exam with excellent scores, and remember receiving my acceptance papers via hand delivery. In those days, study at Beijing University was almost a guarantee of career success, similar to entering Harvard. In fact, at that time, less than 1% of high school graduates in China were admitted to Beijing University, so I was honored to be among that group.
Q: What were some of the highlights of college life at Beijing University?
A: I completed my undergraduate studies at the age of 19. During my first year at Beijing University, however, I began to feel that I wanted to leave China and study abroad, so I spent most of my extra time studying English, so I could go outside China to study. Even though life in Beijing was much better than in my village, in those days I was disappointed with life in Beijing, and wanted something better, so I began to explore opportunities to study abroad.