College guard turns into college teacher

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Li Mingyong – who dropped out of school at 16, worked as a guard at college at 22, and eventually graduated with a PhD degree at 41 – has inspired many people with his story, Guizhou Metropolis Daily reported.

Li Mingyong writes on a blackboard during class. [Photo from website of Guizhou Education University]

Born in 1977 in a remote village in Zunyi, Southwest China's Guizhou province, Li was among the top three students in elementary and middle school.

His grandfather's and mother's illnesses added burdens to the already poor family and left them with many debts. So when Li graduated from middle school, he went to Guiyang, capital of Guizhou, to earn money. He worked at construction sites for some time and later planted tobacco and raised ducks at home. In three years' time, he helped his father pay off their debts of more than 20,000 yuan (about $2,900).

In 1999, Li went back to Guiyang and found a job as a guard for Guizhou Education University. He lived on campus and gradually became influenced by the learning atmosphere. One day, a university official said to him: "You are so young. Do you want to be a guard forever?"

Li thought about his words for several days and decided to change his life with knowledge. He began spending all his rest time on studying.

In 2001, he was enrolled into the university's junior college, majoring in Chinese, and graduated two years later. In 2003, he took the adult college entrance examination and matriculated into the university's undergraduate courses.

In 2005, he decided to pursue a postgraduate education. In order to pass the English test, he recited a dictionary. Whenever an English major passed by, he would ask some questions about English.

He failed the exam in 2005 and 2006, but he eventually gained admission into Guizhou University in 2007 with top scores in written tests, majoring in aesthetics. He graduated in 2010 with a master's degree.

Li went back to Guizhou Education University and worked as a college counselor. However, he wasn't satisfied with this achievement, as he wanted to be a teacher.

In 2013, he decided to pursue a PhD degree. He failed in 2013 and 2014, but was accepted by Central China Normal University in 2015 and graduated in 2018.

Now he teaches aesthetic principles and ethics and regulation of news communication at Guizhou Education University.

"I hope my story can touch the students and help them learn to grow in difficult situations," said Li.

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