A student in Peking University, a leading singer in student choir and a member of the PLA Navy Marine Corps these accomplishments define Song Xi, a woman born in the 1990s.
Growing up in a military family in Changzhi, North China's Shanxi province, she wanted to join the army since she was young. After the college entrance exam, she wanted to apply for a military academy. Her mother thought it would be too hard for a girl and wanted her to go to an ordinary college. In 2012, Song was enrolled into Peking University, studying psychology.
But the dream of being a soldier was still on Song's mind.
She was active in her college life. She made the top 10 in a campus singing contest. In 2014, Peking University Student Choir won two gold medals in the eighth World Choir Games, with Song as the lead. She also liked drama and sports.
In her first and second years in college, the navy came to recruit new soldiers. She wanted to enlist, but was talked out of it by her parents and teachers. They said she was too young to take care of herself and she could serve the country after she obtained a degree.
In her senior year, she saw the navy recruiting ad again, couldn't resist this time and signed up. She finally got the support from family and teachers and joined the navy in 2015.
She wanted to be a member of the Marine Corps, so she crafted a rigorous training plan. She spent more time than other soldiers on every subject, including a 5 kilometer cross country race, barbed wire climb and shooting.
In December 2015, she was enrolled into the Marine Corps with the top score, becoming an amphibian scout. She was also Peking University's first marine.
At the end of 2016, she set off with the 25th Chinese navy fleet to carry out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and Somalia as the only female marine. The fleet carried out 62 escort missions, rescued two ships and drove away boats of suspected pirates 82 times.
In December 2017, she retired from the military and went back to college to continue her studies.
"Though I've finished, I still long to go back into the military," Song said. "I want to enroll again when I finish my post-graduate studies."
Song Xi during a training. [Photo/Beijing Daily]