The Pitfalls of Pursuit in Getting into Graduate School
(Minghui.org) I am a graduate student. During the graduate school exam and when I applied for admission, I realized that, as long as you let go of your attachments, Master Li can help you.
As an undergraduate, I became interested in academic research, which requires a graduate degree. At that time, my thought was simple—I just wanted to study at the best university and with the best professors in my major.
So, beginning in my junior year, I got up at 5 a.m. and returned to the dorm at 10 p.m. This attachment became stronger and stronger. I saw my desire to attend a famous school as a pure and flawless dream. I also called it my way of validating the Fa.
My parents repeatedly advised me to transfer to a school more compatible with my abilities, but I disagreed and told them that, even if I failed in the end, I wanted to try. My parents knew my abilities, but they were unable to dissuade me.
My Best Laid Plans Go Awry
On the day of the graduate entrance exam, it was windy and snowing. The day before, I had caught a cold because I’d studied outside. I had the symptoms of a fever and a runny nose, but I had to take the exam. I knew that I would not pass part of it because some of the subject matter was new to me. The results confirmed my assessment.
I began to reflect on my persistence in preparing for the exam. I knew that I was wrong and shouldn't have become so attached to attending a prestigious school. I then began to desperately send out applications to schools that might recruit graduate students.
I thought I was wrong to chase after a prestigious school before, now I didn't care what kind of school it was—I would accept any offer as long as I was admitted. I had only one wish and that was to go to graduate school. I called the admissions offices at different schools and had to listen to their sarcastic replies. I don't remember how many times I felt depressed and how many times I cried. Every time I wanted to give up, I told myself that this was a process of testing my heart.
Finally, a school in a remote location sent me a notification for a second round of exams. Afterward, I thought I did well and expected to be admitted. I seemed to have forgotten that I was stuck in such a difficult situation because of my attachment to fame.
When I had dinner with my parents that evening, I felt good about myself. When we went shopping, I made some unreasonable demands, such as wanting to buy nice clothes, and acted as if I were already a graduate student. But, the next day, my name was not on the list of admissions. I fell to pieces.
I understood that it was another test of my xinxing. I was sad and cried but told myself that I had to look inward and must have some attachments that I hadn't let go of. I found that I had a deep need to avoid losing face. I was worried that if even a school in a remote location was unwilling to admit me, I would be ashamed to meet my classmates and teachers when I returned to school. I realized that I had always been arrogant and looked down on other people.
“You will be made to abandon all those attachments that cannot be given up among everyday people. As long as you have them, all of those attachments must be removed in different environments. You will be made to stumble, whereby you will become enlightened to the Tao. This is how one goes through cultivation practice.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
After I had lost all hope, I completely let go of my attachments to losing face and egoism and faced the situation calmly, thinking that if I couldn't get into graduate school this year, I would just let it go and try again next year.
The next day, on my way back to school, my school's graduate admissions office called me and told me that I had been admitted. I realized that only when you let go of your attachments can Master help you and can you get everything you deserve.
Planting the Seeds of Cultivation
I had been bathed in the grace of Falun Dafa since I was a child. My parents began to practice it when I was a year old. The persecution had not yet begun. I followed my parents to spread Dafa, did the exercises, and listened to the Fa with the adults. Although I didn’t understand the deeper meanings of the teachings, I understood the standard for measuring good and evil.
When I was in elementary school, I was at the school gate every afternoon, waiting for my father to pick me up after he got off work. He got off work very late, so I often waited for more than an hour and was the only person at the gate. But I never complained. I didn't seem to know what a complaint was. I only knew that waiting was really a long time, but it was very common.
Once, while waiting for my father at a bus stop, a little boy in my class suddenly yelled at me, calling me “idiot,” “big idiot,” and so on. I didn't know when I had offended him. I didn't even say a word to him in class.
Many students witnessed him calling me names. I was stunned for a moment but remembered the principle that when someone scolded you or beat you, you still had to smile. My smile just encouraged him and he said to the other students, “You see, she is such a big fool. I called her names and she smiled—really stupid!”
After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to persecute Falun Dafa, my father was often illegally detained and subjected to brainwashing at work. I often didn't see him for a month at a time and depended more and more on my mother. At the age of 12, my home was ransacked and both of my parents were arrested. I was on my own for a month and a half.
Making a Breakthrough Academically
In addition to improving my xinxing, the biggest problem for me was my grades. I had a misunderstanding about studying when I was young. I always felt that “striving for first place” was a bad thought and that I just needed to “go with the flow” in terms of grades. This became a high-sounding reason for my laziness.
So from elementary school to junior high, except for the liberal arts, which I excelled in, my grades were average. And I especially didn't study mathematics. On the high school math entrance exam, I only got only half of the problems right.
It wasn't until the third year of high school that I suddenly realized that if my math grades did not improve, I might not even be able to get into college—I was really worried.
So I thought I could only ask Master for help. I often read stories on the Minghui website about other young Dafa practitioners achieving academic excellence because they were bathed in the grace of the Buddha Fa, which opened up their wisdom. Although I read many such stories, it never happened to me.
At that time, I didn't understand why that was so. I wondered, “We are all young Dafa disciples. Why do others make such excellent grades and I can't?” I then realized I could no longer escape my predicament, so I started to study hard.
Even if it was very late when I came back from studying, I still read a section of Zhuan Falun before I went to bed. In fact, I studied the Fa with a heart of “seeking pursuit,” and it was this heart that urged me to study the Fa every day.
Although I studied the Fa with attachments, I gradually began to understand that students should study well in order to better validate the Fa. As a result, my math test scores improved significantly. On the college entrance exam, I made 129 points out of 150. I finally understood what my misunderstanding of school study was. Master said: “However much you sacrifice is the amount you will gain … ” (Lecture Nine, Zhuan Falun)
I used to think that, as long as I cultivated, my grades would be excellent. I realized that this was a misinterpretation of Dafa and was impossible. Cultivation must conform to the state of ordinary people to the greatest extent. If I don't work hard and expect to get good grades easily, that is an illusion and an excuse for my laziness.