Five years ago I wrote about military training in China, and how it is mandatory for all freshman college students before classes begin.

I originally wrote about how it felt a little intimidating, but over the years my feelings have changed.

Now I find it a symbol of the changing year. Just like leaves turning orange or red and falling to the ground, military training signals another year here in China, and a new school year beginning. I’ve never participated in it, but seeing it happen, and hearing that familiar “One! Two! Three! Four!” yell across campus makes me feel downright nostalgic.

Military Training in China

“Another year has begun,” it says when I see all those bright eager faces peering out from under the camouflage. “The years roll by and students come and go, but there are new students to be taught, and new friends to be made.”

Who knew after all these years not only would I not be nervous around hundreds of little soldiers in training, but I would find it sentimental and almost sweet.

A new year has begun. One! Two! Three! Four!

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