Zhong Fangrong, whose score in the latest national college entrance exam, or gaokao, was among the best in China, reaffirmed her decision to major in archaeology for her undergraduate studies on Tuesday, ignoring the head-shaking of shocked netizens.
With her high score on the test — 676 out of 750 — Zhong could have chosen virtually any major at any university in the country. So it surprised people when she signed up for archaeology, one of the least popular majors in China.
In a letter replying to the highly regarded Chinese archaeologist Fan Jinshi, the honorary president of the Dunhuang Academy, Zhong expressed her desire to follow her heart, as Fan had done.
Zhong said it was Fan who had influenced her and gave her the confidence to study archaeology at Peking University, and she pledged to follow in Fan's footsteps and devote herself to the field.
Earlier this month Zhong, a student from a small village in Leiyang, Hunan Province, made headlines for her high gaokao score, which was fourth among the 194,000 liberal arts students in her province.
When her decision to study archaeology was reported in the media, Fan sent Zhong her biography and a letter encouraging her to stay true to her dreams.
Described as a "left-behind girl" by Chinese media, Zhong was raised by her grandparents after her parents left their hometown to work for years in Guangzhou.
Some netizens were surprised by Zhong's decision and said her choice would make it difficult to find a good job with a high income after graduation.
In China, popular majors such as finance, science and advanced technology are thought to be more promising.
Museums and archaeology research institutes around China rallied behind Zhong, and professional societies in the field from at least 10 provinces sent supportive messages.
Please understand that womenofchina.cn,a non-profit, information-communication website, cannot reach every writer before using articles and images. For copyright issues, please contact us by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. The articles published and opinions expressed on this website represent the opinions of writers and are not necessarily shared by womenofchina.cn.