Man, 83, continues passion for learning at university

Instead of whiling away his time playing mahjong or drinking tea, an 83-year-old man in Chongqing spends his time studying at university, Chongqing Evening News reported.

Instead of whiling away his time playing mahjong or drinking tea, an 83-year-old man in Chongqing spends his time studying at university, Chongqing Evening News reported.

Yang Jinghong began attending the Chongqing Technology and Business University at the end of 2016, studying literature and journalism with students nearly 60 years his junior.

Yang says his favorite things in life include studying and researching ancient Chinese.

Yang's notes taken while reading books.

His wife Xu Daigui has supported him in his journey to continue learning, but even now she still doesn't know how he does it.

About 10 years ago, Yang developed an interest in reading books about ancient Chinese and researching ancient poetry, so he studied at a local college for senior citizens for a few years.

But in 2016 he started to feel that the classes for senior citizens at his local college just weren't enough. That's when he decided to study at a formal university.

Since he's too old to take part in the college entrance exam, Yang tried his luck gaining permission to sit in on lessons at a local university offering classes in ancient Chinese.

Though he was rejected by many schools in consideration of his safety, his determination to study finally moved some of the heads at CTBU's School of Literature and Journalism, who allowed him to sit in.

Even though it often takes him about an hour to get to the university, the 83-year-old has never been late, come rain or shine.

In fact he's made a habit of arriving about half an hour early so that he won't disturb his classmates.

Yang often struggles to keep up with note taking in class, but his younger classmates often lend a helping hand. One fellow student, a girl named Liu Lina, offers her notes whenever Yang needs them.

Yang Jinghong and Liu Lina

Another classmate, Long Xiaolan, said she was surprised when she saw Yang in the classroom the first time. But after studying with him for more than a semester, she couldn't help but admire him. Yang's spirit also encourages other young students to study harder.

However, not all the teachers in the school supported Yang's attendance, mostly out of concern for his health and safety. 

But Tang Dezheng, one of professors who supported Yang most, recognized the man's passion and the positive influence he has on the other students.

"As long as Yang is willing to come, I would always be willing to teach him,"  he said.

Tang Dezheng teaches ancient Chinese while Yang Jinghong listens in the front row.


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