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Students gain lessons in life from martial mindsets

By Zhao Xinying | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-27 06:52

Wang Hang, 28, joined the People's Liberation Army in 2009, when he was a second-year student at Fudan University in Shanghai.

The son of a PLA Air Force officer had dreamed of emulating his father, but his decision to suspend his studies and enlist was met with incomprehension.

"People said a young man like me - a triple-A student at high school who played the piano and was studying at one of the top universities - would definitely secure a good job after graduation. They said enlisting was a waste of my time, but I didn't think so," he recalled.

"Serving in the army was my childhood dream. I wanted to make it come true."

Despite the hardships he endured during two years in the People's Armed Police, Wang learned a lot, especially discipline and order.

"At college, I played computer games until late at night and got up at about noon. I've maintained the habit of sleeping early and rising early," he said.

He also became more independent: "Like many people born in the 1980s and 1990s, whose parents and grandparents dote on them, I was poor at handling daily life. In the army, you learn to wash clothes, plan how to spend your subsidy and deal with things yourself. That was when I really began growing up."

New experiences

Cao Xiaodong joined the PLA Navy Marine Corps in 2009 as a student of physical education at Hebei Normal University of Science and Technology.

"At the time, I felt being a college student wasn't challenging enough and wanted to try something I had never experienced," he recalled.

He didn't inform his family until he had formally enlisted: "They hoped I would finish my studies, but I didn't want to miss the opportunity."

Speaking of the hardships he endured during training, Cao said every student soldier tells a similar story: blistered feet after running 5 kilometers in full kit; swimming in the sea and training under a burning sun; and continuing to train even with a twisted ankle.

"At the time, it was really hard and painful, but looking back, all the pain and difficulties have faded and only the meaningful things are left - an iron will and comradeship with my brothers in arms," said the 27-year-old, who is now a physical coach in Hebei province.

"Former soldiers are not easily defeated by life's difficulties and hardships."

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