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【Commencement 2011】 A letter from houseparents

SEP . 14 2011


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Peking University News presents a special edition for the annual commencement season on campus. The series, "Commencement 2011," includes galleries, up-to-date reports, and faculty and staff members' reflections about the Class of 2011.


Dear Graduates of Building No. 36:


The letter (Photo: Arki)


Time flies. After four years you have finally arrived at the end of your college life. Congratulations!


Nostalgia weighs on us when it comes to farewell every time of the year, and catharsis is needed. You are young, energetic and creative–drinking, revelry, travelling, and all other sorts of lively activities. Yet we are too old to craze like that. So we just free our minds and write something down.


Four years ago, you were just a bunch of boys when first moved in — Active, enthusiastic, positive and a little arrogant. You looked in such good spirits that we couldn’t help calling you “good boys”. Blink of an eye, four years has elapsed. Now, you are to graduate, and are really grown up — no longer hard-edged, but more mature; no longer gassing about dreams, but become down to earth; no longer wallow in current affairs, but are inculcated the habit of deliberation. We are pleased to see the changes from the bottom of heart as if watched our own children growing up — Indeed, when looking back, we truly considered you as our own children in the four years.


Our work is simple and repetitive — turning daily on and off the lights, the weekly security check every week, the monthly sanitary inspection; taking a left-in during every vacation — And questioning every stranger, of course. In a word, the work is like an endless loop without fun. However, our daily life still appears to be interesting, thanks to so many variables now and then — a kid on the second floor bring some fruits here; another on the third comes to complain about laundry; one on the fourth forgets his key once more; somebody on the fifth tells me about his new girlfriend; the one on the sixth wants to set up an elevator in the building… How cute you are! You never know how we feel touched every time you pass by and say hello to us, calling us “Housemaster,” “Madam,” or “Aunt.”


During the four years, what we hope most is offering you a healthy and happy life, a suitable learning atmosphere and good living habits — after all, who would like to see her child suffer troubles or being wronged? We spared no effort accomplishing our aim and goal. But we feel pity and shamed to the upshot. Kids, you have taught us a lesson — there is a gap between ideal and reality. You threw away a regular schedule with night after night staying up late; you didn’t clean your rooms except for our inspection; you…We failed in helping you establish good habits. Before you leave, we still want to remind you, so don’t be resistant. Remember, “Good advice is harsh to the ear.” We’d like to quote the lyrics: “Listen to your aunt and don’t hurt me.”


You are leaving the campus and entering into the society. Though we are glad to see you independent, the society is quite different from the university with teachers caring about you and friends tolerating you. Off campus, everyone is busy fighting for his own success and no one really cares about your feelings. Once frustrated, speak out. Don’t lock your heart. Talk to your parents as a famous song goes, “talk about the unpleasant trivial with mom and the annoying work with papa.” Some of you may find the generation gap hard to cross, but parents are your most selfless intimates — you may understand it later in life. If you are too shy to talk to your parents, talk to us then. We will always be your “aunt” and willing to hear from you. Call or text us when there’s good news or during the holiday.


We have said too much — The old are known as naggers. So never mind. But come back to us whenever you want to hear us babbling. Welcome. Cold tea is prepared to cool off while sweet date is to warm your heart.


Our kids, there’s one thing left to remind you — never forget your dreams whenever and wherever you go, as well as whatever you’ve been through. In our eyes, you will forever be those freshmen who were always passionate and confident, who embraced hopes and ideals.


Tian Guilan, Song Lijie, and Huang Zhensong
Student Dormitory Building No. 36


June 2011


Extended Reading:

The Chinese version of the letter 


Edited by: Qian Xin

Translated by: Li Nuoya