Xue Yifan – It is Good to be the Only One (On Your Graduation ‘Group Photo’)

Xue Yifan, the now famous Graduation 'Group Photo', Peking University

BEIJING – In an overpopulated, extremely competitive, and edu-obsessional society like China, it is ridiculously difficult to find yourself an unoccupied space, carving out a niche, or pursuing a profession that isn’t fiercely contested, letting alone staying in there alone for too long.

China’s universities are no different, having geared up for mass-producing scholars of all kinds, the more the better… almost. Even Peking University, by the way, agrees with mass-education, having standardized its graduation proceedings as ‘group’ activities -fat chance you will be sitting courses alone, ever.

Xue Yifan, 2014

The idea that there could be just one student on the official  ‘group photo’ didn’t occur to administrators. So, when Xue Yifan (薛逸凡), of the Yuanpei Institute for Paleontology at Peking University, who was latter called “the loneliest graduate” by Global Times, posted her graduation ‘group photo’ online, she attracted A LOT of attention from micro-bloggers and even state media, many who see her as model student, a heroine of scientific knowledge in a rare field that is apparently little understood by most students and their parents when selecting a university major.


Ms Xue didn’t expect the media attention at all; she appeared humble but professional in interviews, looking for the next challenges ahead of her, possibly aiming at a career in academia.

That said, whatever road she takes in life, being among the few chosen ones is undoubtedly beneficial, especially in China. Being the only one, however… priceless!

READ FULL ARTICLE How A Graduation Photo Can Make You Famous In China (Big Think)

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