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Students, teachers brave uncertainties
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Instead, four large makeshift tents have been set up on the school grounds for teachers and students.

Each tent includes two large beds with bamboo mats placed on top of steel frames. One bed is big enough for about 80 students to lie side by side.

But Liu said lack of sleep is now one of the major problems facing those at the school.

After having lunch in a common dining hall one day, Liu had tried taking a nap before the start of four lectures.

It was a typical hot summer day in Sichuan. The 40 C heat in the tent forced him out into the open again.

Without electricity to power a fan, let alone an air-conditioner, Liu said he might have become a "steamed dumpling" in the tent.

"I had to walk back to the classroom and rest on a chair instead," he said.

He found almost all of his classmates there.

"It was not the first time," he said.

"Without adequate rest, everyone feels particularly tired in the afternoon."

Despite these difficulties, Liu said he must concentrate on his studies and think positively about the coming exams.

And when asked what he would like to study in university, Liu said the quake changed his priorities.

"I want to apply for a course in construction now, such as architecture or civil engineering," he said. His original plan was to study management.

"The reconstruction of my hometown requires professionals," Liu said.

Fortunately, in Liu's case, all his family members survived the quake unscathed. Their home back in Qingchuan was also left standing.

Liu is considered one of the luckier ones in his school, where some students have to cope with the loss of loved ones in the quake.

Li Qiao, who is also facing the exams, lost her mother when their house in Nanba town, Pingwu county, collapsed in the quake.

The 18-year-old is not giving up.

"It was my mother's strong wish for me to enter a good university," she said.

Li told China Daily she got news of her mother's death from her head teacher He Qiurong three days after the disaster struck.

She had burst into tears immediately.

"All my classmates tried their best to comfort me, and Teacher He stayed with me for days," Li said.

"I told myself that I must be strong I must study hard."

Li said she plans to study finance in university. She will find a well-paying job because that is one way she can help her family.

"I also want to set a good example for my little brother, who is still in the first year of middle school."

Li singled out the uncertainty of the exam date as the biggest obstacle facing her.

Her teachers share that worry.

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