My High School Entrance Exam

In October 1977, I was recruited from the countryside and returned to the city for less than a year, working as an apprentice in the machine repair workshop of Anhui Xinhua Printing Factory. At that time, the news of resuming college entrance examination came. I thought I would have to work in front of the clamp bench for the rest of my life, but I didn’t expect there would be a chance to change my fate, and my goal of going to university, which was set when I was young, was hopefully realized.

However, a series of events happened before and after the examination, so that my college entrance examination is full of drama, can be described as a series of twists and turns, ups and downs, still think about it, still feel the inscrutable fate, as if in the dark, there is a mysterious force in the control of everything.

First, the examination and non-examination. Whether or not to take the college entrance examination, first encountered resistance in the parents. Father said, you have been working in the countryside for several years, it is easy to return to the city, work is not easy, or down-to-earth to do a good job, do not look at the mountain high. Besides, you haven’t touched any books over the years, can you pass the exam? My mother also thinks it is not easy to find a job, so don’t think nonsense.

Secondly, I got a cold reception from some old classmates who were recruited back to the city at the same time, and when I was excited to propose to them to refer together, I met with a nose full of dust. They said, it is easy to get out of the misery and return to the city, with an iron rice bowl, it is time to relax and relax, do not want to toss again. Besides, with our cultural background, we can do better than the old three and freshmen? Don’t end up emptying the basket and leaving a bad impression on the unit.

Again, the factory environment is not friendly enough. One day at work, before entering the workshop, I heard a voice saying, on our workshop these few, I think no one dares to apply, either as a soldier or just returned from the countryside, books have long been lost, who can get the test? It’s better to be a worker honestly!

The internal and external blow was a bit discouraging. Indeed, this time, it was not easy to recruit workers to return to the city, from the recommendation of the production team, to the brigade and the commune to review, and finally the county to determine, there were always people messing up, a few months of torment, basically not doing farm work, either on the way to the commune, or on the way to the county. It was easy to assign a job, but when I got the news, my heart was cold, why?

The original is assigned to the provincial geological exploration team, the specific work is the province around the tent, erecting derricks, drilling boreholes, in fact, or all day in the countryside everywhere, that with the farming is not similar? If I graduated from high school to go there, I was sure to be busy to report, but after a few years of repairing the earth, really do not want to go around in the wide world, although there are wages to get, but may not really back to the city for life. I was forced to ask my father, who was never willing to ask for help, to find an old colleague’s help, so I changed to Xinhua Printing, and really went back to the city.

Furthermore, the fourth grade of elementary school in time for the Cultural Revolution, basically stopped classes, after the “resumption of classes and revolution”, although the junior high school, high school, but every now and then to learn engineering, agriculture and military, coupled with the regular criticism, really did not take many cultural classes, not to mention what serious exams, is considered to mix a few years. And 3 years in the countryside, dry farm work during the day stinks, sleep at night on the dark, life is monotonous and boring, not to mention learning what new knowledge, the original learned a little something also lost almost.

I remember when I first joined the factory, a master asked me about the Pythagorean theorem, I can’t remember, embarrassment lost. My father had a point, we must first figure out how much we have; the old classmates’ consideration and the workers’ comments are also justifiable, just out of the countryside and to toss, and so many competitors, in case the test is not, in the factory still mixed or not!

Even so, there is still a reluctance, although the youthful good time to study was delayed for ten years, but after all, they are only in their early 20s, compared to those old three junior high school students, high school students, at least there is an age advantage. Opportunity is not lost, the line and not, how to know without trying? Otherwise, you can only be like the masters in the workshop, in the pitch-black factory, every day grinding work, talk about the yellow paragraph mixed life. Life can have a few times to fight, the opportunity to come not bo, when to wait?

Of course, we also need to have self-awareness, clear their own cards, and avoid the shortcomings of the strengths. On their own situation, the examination of science and technology is certainly not, originally did not learn much knowledge of mathematics and chemistry, are basically returned to the teacher. But I also have an advantage, when I was in school, my strength is language, essays are often used by language teachers as a model essay review, in the countryside during the fear of becoming completely illiterate, in the absence of books, the works of Lu Xun, including diaries, and Mao Xuan 4 volumes, have read several times, but also served as a production team correspondent, often for the brigade and the commune radio station to write articles. At the same time, I also worked as a correspondent for the production team and often wrote for the brigade and commune radio station. Later, when I joined the factory, I also served as a shop correspondent and became a regular visitor to the propaganda section of the factory.

After thinking about it, I decided to apply for it, and began to study for the exam amidst the skepticism of the people.

The second is the swelling of the ankle and the elimination. Soon after registration, I learned that the college entrance examination is scheduled for early December, full of only a month of review time, the degree of tension can be imagined.

Near the time of the exam, the city issued a notice, working candidates can take a week off for revision. Of course, it is up to each unit to decide whether to grant the leave or not. Although this is a flexible rule, there is uncertainty, but in the atmosphere of the whole society to support the college entrance examination, who will offend people and not allowed to take leave? So a week before the exam, I went to the director of the workshop to ask for leave, but I did not expect to hit a nail. The director sat behind the desk, without looking up, and said no in a hard tone. Asked why not? The answer is that there are so many reasons? No means no.

A stomach full of anger out, met a worker Zheng, know that I did not attempt to leave, they advised me to go to the workshop secretary, and told me that the director of the recent gas upset, because his daughter to the countryside for only one year, it will be with the local youth back to the village to get married, the whole family opposed it is useless, so recently looking for the director of the work, all were beaten back. I see, it is understandable! The good thing is that the secretary is reasonable, not only approved the leave, but also encouraged me to study well for the exam, to strive for a hit, the golden list.

The leave is good, ready to use 7 days, at home to more than a month to review the content of a good comb again, the last sprint. When I got up the next morning, I found that my right ankle was swollen and it hurt like hell to touch the ground, so I walked with a limp and couldn’t read at all. I hadn’t done any strenuous exercise recently, so how could my ankle be swollen? I had no choice but to admit my bad luck. As a result, I went to the factory infirmary once a day in the morning and once in the afternoon during the 7-day vacation, and each time the doctor massaged my foot for half an hour and then put medicine on it.

The two-day examination was conducted in the midst of ankle pain, and its impact was self-evident. When I walked out of the examination hall after the last class, I suddenly found that I could walk smoothly, my ankle did not hurt anymore, and the swelling had disappeared when I felt it with my hand. This is strange, is the ankle pain is specially arranged by God to mess up? Is it because of God’s plan to mess up my exams? When I talked to people afterwards, they all thought it was related to the high level of mental tension before the exam, but when the exam was over, the burden was gone and it returned to normal.

The third is the loss and gain of the acceptance letter. 1977 college entrance examination, before the official acceptance, there is a preliminary selection. I remember one afternoon, about 20 days after the exam, the factory held a general meeting, the factory manager, as usual, on the stage, such as chanting scripture general speaking, sitting in the middle of the auditorium aisle position drowsy. Suddenly someone tapped on the shoulder, and saw that it was the head of the propaganda section. Seeing that I was awake, he whispered, come out for a moment!

I was so excited, it must be a good thing! I followed him outside the auditorium. He said, just received a phone call from the provincial publishing bureau, the preliminary list of the entrance examination down, there are you, and three people. You should go to the bureau now and bring back all 4 people’s forms. I was so happy that I almost shouted, rushed back to the workshop, found a bicycle, rode on the fly to the publishing bureau. I got the forms back to the factory just in time for the meeting to break up, and people seemed to know about it and were pointing at me.

At that moment, a big man stopped me and asked tremulously: Am I there? This is the row of words workshop Wei Mou, after the college entrance examination I have always avoided him, the reason is that every time I met him, to find me to the test answers, and the results are basically he got it right, I was much worse, very frustrating. It is said that someone in his family is in the Provincial Higher Education Bureau and saw the standard answers after the exam, thus he was always confident. But this time the preliminary list he got was without him.

Looking at his thirsty eyes, I silently shook my head and he immediately blushed suddenly and his body seemed to collapse. I hurriedly held him up and comforted him, saying that maybe yours hadn’t arrived yet. His eyes lit up and he grabbed me by the shoulders and said, “Is it true? Then I’ll hurry and ask! Turned around and ran to the factory.

After filling out the preliminary selection form and handing it in, it was soon followed by a medical examination and then waiting for news. That was the happiest time, walking is jumping, because the dawn is just ahead. Every day, people I met in the factory would ask me if I had gotten my acceptance notice. Although the mouth answer is not yet, but the heart feels that it should be a sure thing.

Day by day, the news of acceptance soon came, but their side but no movement at all, can not help but be a little apprehensive, several times through the factory, but also did not dare to ask to the publicity section. One day at noon in the workshop burning heating coal stove in the hut to take a nap, woke up to hear the sound of talking in the next room, listen to the hoarse voice, I know that the workshop was seconded to the plant propaganda section of the old Yu, he is a veteran, to the plant for more than 3 years, the original is also a pincer, because the pen is good, before I entered the plant was seconded to the plant propaganda section, I came to work part-time after his original role of shop correspondent I was responsible for supplying articles for the factory newspaper. The head of the propaganda section has repeatedly praised me in public for writing fast and good writing, which is said to have caused him dissatisfaction, probably because he is worried that I will replace him in the propaganda section of the position it.

At this time to hear him say, college entrance examination admission has ended, color printing workshop Zhao Hong yesterday got a university admission letter, or I gave him, others no chance. The pincer Li master asked, what about Xiaotao? The last preliminary selection notice or he took back. Just listen to Yu’s nose grunted and said, what’s the use, not to get the notice? Self-importance is too good! Then came the sound of the door opening and closing. I got up to the next door, Yu is no longer in, Master Li a few people see me, said sarcastically, the old Yu is not necessarily right, your notice should also be soon. I immediately felt paralyzed all over, just like Wei last time.

Near the end of the day, the evening newspaper arrived. Looking through the newspaper Xiao Zheng suddenly shouted: small Tao, here is the news of the college entrance examination! And handed to me. I took a look at it, and what caught my eye was the middle headline on the front page, “Never be discouraged, reload and fight again”, written by the candidates who failed in the college entrance examination, saying that although they failed in this examination and were not admitted, they will pick up their spirits and start again from scratch, and study again to meet the next college entrance examination. Even this kind of article is published, it can be seen that what Yu said is true, they are completely out of luck.

I’m not in the mood to go home for dinner, but I went straight back to my place and lay on my bed looking at the ceiling and froze. If you say that just after the exam when the heart is not bottom, because after all, is a backlog of more than ten years of candidates together, thousands of horses across the one-way bridge, those old three high school students, junior high school students knowledge base is far better than those of us who went to school during the Cultural Revolution, but after getting the preliminary selection notice, is full of hope, the plant more than 30 people reference, only four of us passed, but why not again? What is the difference? Failed although you can continue to study for the exam, but will repeat the kind of misery, the future of the unpredictable days, especially before the exam again ankle swelling? Also have to face the workshop director’s indifference and old Yu’s gloating. The more you think about it, the more demoralized you are.

At this time there was a knock on the door, reluctantly up, open the door is Xiao Zheng, said the more you think about the more wrong after going home, after dinner will come to see, I guess I was over here and did not eat dinner. He said he took out a lunch box from the bag he was carrying and opened it with hot rice, covered with a few slices of bacon and some greens, and asked me to eat as soon as possible. Very touching!

Xiao Zheng is a few years older than me and runs a lathe in the metalworking class. He is generous, old-fashioned and good at thinking of others in everything, and has been taking good care of me since I joined the factory. I was really hungry, took the lunch box and quickly finished eating, and my mood was better. Zheng said I’ll stay here with you tonight. So, we both leaned against the bed, covered with the quilt and chatted until late at night.

The next day was a factory day off, and when I got up in the morning, Zheng saw that I was in good shape, so he said goodbye. I went home to see my parents and brother, briefly told them about the situation, admitted that I had failed the college entrance exam, and said I would start studying again.

Monday at work, although not completely recovered from the frustration, but the mood calmed down more, while working, while thinking about how to start a new review, workers see, but also basically do not raise the matter of the examination.

The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services, such as the following Heart a shock, stop filing, about to ask where the Admissions Office? What is it? He has turned around and walked away. Next to the people around, saying, “Good thing, do not hurry to go!

Borrowed a bicycle rushed out of the workshop, to the factory propaganda section, the section chief just in, said how you do not go to the admissions office? I said to ask where the recruiting office, what to go? The head of the department said, this old Yu, let him notify also did not say clearly. The admissions office is in the city government, let you go to get a college admissions letter. Thank you, that ran out and rode the car wildly.

20 minutes later to the city government, quickly found the admissions office, a middle-aged man received me, first of all, apologized, saying that there is no such college entrance examination for many years, is a new thing, the provinces and cities are no special admissions office, coupled with the rush, the staff are temporarily redeployed, office space is also borrowed, we have no experience, so there are some omissions. The admissions letters sent by the schools, after unpacking is stacked on four tables put together, the crowd around a circle to distribute, the day before yesterday, yesterday off, this morning to move the table back to the original place, found a few envelopes on the ground, it is estimated that from the seams of the table missed, so hurry to inform you.

I thanked you and took the envelope with my name on it, and after I opened it, it was an acceptance letter from the Chinese Department of Anhui Normal University. I was so excited that I couldn’t express my excitement, so I went out and got on my bicycle to go back to the factory, and the lines of Li Bai’s poem rang in my head: “Look up to the sky and laugh, I am not an artemisia man.”