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What does it mean to become the first university student in your family in China? In its 2019 promo video From One to Infinity, Tsinghua University answered this question by gathering its students who happened to be the first university student in their families.


The video soon went viral. It was watched over 8 million times two days after being posted on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media. It's message was echoed by many netizens whose lives have been transformed by education. Many say they've been inspired.



Somehow, an academic career wasn't so smooth for Xue, the vice-president of Tsinghua University. He failed twice in his postgraduate entrance exam and spent seven years to get his doctorate. Over the past 20 years, he worked over 15 hours per day and finally discovered the quantum anomalous Hall effect in a magnetic topological insulator, a Nobel-worthy scientific achievement.



Gathered by vice-president Xue Qikun, those Tsinghua students in the video varied from volunteer teachers in China's countryside to a basketball player on the school team, from an engineer participating in the Beidou Navigation Satellite System project who is keen on Chinese poetry, to an entrepreneur involved in developing artificial intelligence chips.



But they are related by one identity as the first university student in their families.



In 1999, the country launched a strategic policy of higher education expansion to give more students the opportunity to receive higher education, meeting the needs of a growing number of high school graduates. (Xinhua)


Building schools, hiring professors and offering scholarships to underprivileged students, the Chinese government deployed many measures to expand college enrollment. (Xinhua)



在知乎上,有人发起问题:如何评价清华大学2019年招生宣传片《从一到无穷大》。斯坦福大学化学系博士在读的@Ezawa Tami说,这就是中国梦的含义所在。他在文章中讲述在美国遇到的一个柬埔寨女生Amanda Te的故事,以下是她接受采访的部分内容:

Like most Cambodians, I grew up in a donut shop.My family came to America with literally nothing. No belongings, no money. I had to grow up fast: early mornings, late nights, rude customers, no air conditioning, no wifi, 110 degree summers.


Honestly, I didn't think anything of it, it was life. A life my parents were teaching me to rise above and change with education.In high school, I became president of many clubs and graduated valedictorian.


My background only became an obstacle in college, when I learned how different I was from everyone else. Freshmen year, I thought I’d drop out because the heavy reality of being a low-income, first generation, Cambodian woman was no longer a title. But now I'm on my way to becoming one of the first female Cambodian software engineers.


I don't see people like me at Berkeley because there isn't a lot of us. I was given an amazing opportunity to create a future that I statistically shouldn't have, and it only takes one person to pave the way.


注:Berkley指加州大学伯克利分校(University of California, Berkeley),美国名校。