Chinese Students Face Immense Pressure to Succeed

by Catherine Burrogano on November 15, 2013 - 10:53am

It is very well known that Chinese families put extreme pressure on their kids to be good, if not the best, at school. This results in students working astonishingly hard to  study and to overwork to an unhealthy level. As for the parents, many of them downgrade their way of living in order to offer their kids an education a shot at obtaining the ''Chinese Dream'', which is the ideal lifestyle valued by the Chinese population. However, for unfortunately many students, the pressure and stress associated with school is just too much to handle and pushes them to commit suicide or to simply quit school. In fact, many of these teenagers find the solution of stopping school for a year and traveling instead of studying very appealing and is a way of escaping the overwhelming and intense lifestyle demanded by their parents.

Another problem arises once the Chinese students graduate, which is the mismatch between the labor demanded and the labor supplied, which results from the major economic development of China. In other words, a large proportion of the Chinese graduates are unemployed due to an important lack of jobs offered. Therefore,  workers are willing to work in bad conditions because of the scarcity of jobs and they overwork significantly. More and more deaths caused by exhaustion of these hopeless workers are reported every month, which hints the importance of this issue.

Whether it's in China or anywhere else in the world, I personally believe that no student should feel such a strong pressure to succeed coming from their relatives. In my opinion, parents should encourage and support their kids and shouldn't be pushing them towards unhealthy lifestyles. I also believe that even if people are desperate for jobs, they should never settle for working conditions that will affect their physical, emotional and mental health, even if it seems to be the only solution offered. Does anyone have any possible solutions for the graduates that can't find jobs in China? What is your opinion on this growing issue?

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/chinas-growing-glut-of-unemployed-graduates/article12234902/

Comments

This is a very important topic but it is not only in China because it happens all over the world. But yes Chinese parents do put more pressure on their children. When the Chinese go to school and can’t find a job that they want it is still better than the low life jobs. The person with the better grades and have a college degree they are more likely to have a better chance at getting that job. With a college degree it gives you a better selection of a better paying and cleaner job. I don’t think the parents should put so much pressure on their kids but they still should just encourage them to do better.

What drew me to this article was the mention of the “Chinese Dream”. I found the article to be very informational and eye-opening. I find it interesting that some students actually will travel for a year and come back to school. I feel as if they could deal with this stress in different ways. For example many college students in the United States will chose some recreational activities. I relive stress by lifting weights along with playing rugby. It was also very compelling to find out that many Chinese graduates do not have jobs. This is important to me because we have a similar problem in the United States. I will be graduating in three years and finding a job will be on the top of my list. The fact that these educated students have to work in these terrible conditions is terrible. I think that they should maybe try to find jobs in other countries instead of putting all of their focus on the job market in China. I also would like to touch upon the parent’s role in these students. These Chinese students are socialized by their parents just as we were. I feel as if the pressure put on students is tied mostly to what their parents were taught. This is not just a problem in the Chinese home but a larger cultural issue. Education is being imposed on these children to young adults as their only way of succeeding in their society. This is something that needs to change culturally before it can change in the household.

What drew me to this article was the mention of the “Chinese Dream”. I found the article to be very informational and eye-opening. I find it interesting that some students actually will travel for a year and come back to school. I feel as if they could deal with this stress in different ways. For example many college students in the United States will chose some recreational activities. I relive stress by lifting weights along with playing rugby. It was also very compelling to find out that many Chinese graduates do not have jobs. This is important to me because we have a similar problem in the United States. I will be graduating in three years and finding a job will be on the top of my list. The fact that these educated students have to work in these terrible conditions is terrible. I think that they should maybe try to find jobs in other countries instead of putting all of their focus on the job market in China. I also would like to touch upon the parent’s role in these students. These Chinese students are socialized by their parents just as we were. I feel as if the pressure put on students is tied mostly to what their parents were taught. This is not just a problem in the Chinese home but a larger cultural issue. Education is being imposed on these children to young adults as their only way of succeeding in their society. This is something that needs to change culturally before it can change in the household.

I saw a prime example of this in the high school I attended with a Chinese classmate who ended up going to Yale. This girl was the best at everything she did. She was the top athlete in the school, best violin player and top of the class. She worked extremely hard especially since she had to balance other extracurricular activities. I think it is interesting how the Chinese standards of working hard not only exist in China. No matter what country the Chinese family is located they still hold these values and do not follow the educational norms of the country they are in. I feel that the drive to succeed is not embedded in everyone. It is hard to force someone into caring about doing work. Most parents want their child to be successful in life, but there is a limit to how hard a child should be pushed in order to excel. I wonder where these Chinese norms came from. Interestingly enough, the Chinese are pushed so hard and then end up unemployed.

I think this is a very important subject matter to be discussed, not only for the Chinese, but for everybody. School has always been an important focus for many people due to the fact that having a good educational background provides more opportunity for better jobs. Considering that job competition continues to increase it is important that those in route to finding a job have an educational background, and a good one at that. School, college in particular is also becoming very competitive. I believe this has caused parents and teachers, even, to be so hard on their children and students regarding schoolwork and grades. I come from a family of teachers, and with that has come a heavy importance regarding school. Although school has always been a top priority in my household I have never felt pressured or overwhelmed with consequences due to my achievement in school. I think that the more one rides, and pressures a student to do better the more likely they are to be pushed to the edge. Often this causes a student to become overly stressed which can result in rebellion, dropping out, and self-harm. School should always be a priority, but a line needs to be drawn in order to prevent negative effects.

I think this is a very important subject matter to be discussed, not only for the Chinese, but for everybody. School has always been an important focus for many people due to the fact that having a good educational background provides more opportunity for better jobs. Considering that job competition continues to increase it is important that those in route to finding a job have an educational background, and a good one at that. School, college in particular is also becoming very competitive. I believe this has caused parents and teachers, even, to be so hard on their children and students regarding schoolwork and grades. I come from a family of teachers, and with that has come a heavy importance regarding school. Although school has always been a top priority in my household I have never felt pressured or overwhelmed with consequences due to my achievement in school. I think that the more one rides, and pressures a student to do better the more likely they are to be pushed to the edge. Often this causes a student to become overly stressed which can result in rebellion, dropping out, and self-harm. School should always be a priority, but a line needs to be drawn in order to prevent negative effects.

The title of your article is what really pulled me in. It is well known and often joked about that Chinese students have a lot of pressure from their families to perform above average in everything to do with school. My mother is an elementary school teacher. New York State is pushing the teachers to create new curriculum that is very similar to what is being taught in China. My mother’s third grade students are learning subjects that I did not learn until at least middle school. The problem with this is that our society and values are very different from China’s society and values. Growing up I would come home from school, rush to get my homework done, eat dinner, and then go to soccer practice and dance lessons. Our society focuses on education but also on out of school activities such as sports and clubs. Chinese students mainly focus on education and education only. The pressure from school keeps me stressed on a daily basis so I cannot imagine studying and doing homework all hours of the day without an outlet. It has to be hard for the Chinese students who work so hard in school for so many years and then get a job that is not up to their full potential. I also agree with you when you say that one’s family members should be more supportive rather than add on to the pressure that already exists. I am not saying that our society’s values are any better than Chinas or vice versa, but I think that it is very unhealthy that there are students all over the world harming themselves from the pressures of everyday life.

I know that all students may suffer to succeed but quite often I never thought of Chinese students being applied to that stereotype. I can only imagine the stress these children are going through and the simple fact that they did not choose this path. Although this was a very interesting topic I feel that it should not be the way it is for the Chinese students. Prior to reading this I did not know there was a “Chinese Dream”. This information was very informing but things need to change in order for these students to actually want to make a better future for themselves. More encouraging instead of pressuring! Good job.

I can relate to this article because I have felt a lot of pressure to be perfect in school, but my experience has been small scale compared to the kids in China. My parents went to great lengths to make sure I could go to my first choice school, whereas my older sister had to attend a school she did not like for lack of funds. I worked so hard in my first semester that I did reach my parents’ idea of “perfection”—4.0, research responsibilities, and an on-campus office good. I was tired and unhappy and I seriously considered dropping out after that first semester. The excuse I told my parents was that college was not worth it. You talked about how Chinese graduates were unemployed or under-employed, and I thought that would happen to me here in America. The huge difference that makes me thankful I am not in the Chinese culture is that I was able to get my parents to ease up on me. I am still involved in everything I was doing before, but now I do it because I want to, not because I feel forced to. I think education is such a huge part of the culture in China that it is not just the parents’ expectations, but everyone’s expectation that you succeed. As far as possible solutions for graduates who can’t find jobs, I don't have any suggestions. I’m worried about finding a decent job after graduation, but being educated and then having to work so hard you could die of exhaustion is unfathomable to me.

I can relate to this article because I have felt a lot of pressure to be perfect in school, but my experience has been small scale compared to the kids in China. My parents went to great lengths to make sure I could go to my first choice school, whereas my older sister had to attend a school she did not like for lack of funds. I worked so hard in my first semester that I did reach my parents’ idea of “perfection”—4.0, research responsibilities, and an on-campus office good. I was tired and unhappy and I seriously considered dropping out after that first semester. The excuse I told my parents was that college was not worth it. You talked about how Chinese graduates were unemployed or under-employed, and I thought that would happen to me here in America. The huge difference that makes me thankful I am not in the Chinese culture is that I was able to get my parents to ease up on me. I am still involved in everything I was doing before, but now I do it because I want to, not because I feel forced to. I think education is such a huge part of the culture in China that it is not just the parents’ expectations, but everyone’s expectation that you succeed. As far as possible solutions for graduates who can’t find jobs, I don't have any suggestions. I’m worried about finding a decent job after graduation, but being educated and then having to work so hard you could die of exhaustion is unfathomable to me.

I as a student have always been in classes where there has been Chinese people who always seem to have skipped a grade or are doubling up on classes. It's not that we expect the Chinese race to be smart, it’s just that within society this is a normality. And within society this always seems to be the case. I agree with you that no student should feel such pressure about being successful in school and/or being better then everyone. I see it as ridiculous that family members expect this and even think assume that their children should rise above. I think it is great to have high expectations of your children, but there comes a point where enough is too much. When looking for a job you should never feel desperate and like you said you should never settle. You should love your job, and its conditions because you want to be happy in the end. In answer to your question, "What is your opinion on this growing issue?" I would have to say it's really just unfair but sad because this is a growing issue seen everywhere.

It is often joked that Chinese kids face and enormous amount of pressure from their parents to be perfect at everything they do, but in reality, this is no joke. I never took into account the results of that these pressures turn into. I had no idea that some Chinese kids turn to quitting school or life. I strongly agree that no matter where students are in the world, they should never feel this intense amount of pressure. As a college student, I thought it was bad enough dealing with the amount of stress I’m going through. I could never imagine having a lifestyle where everything you do has to be perfect and you constantly have to be studying. Granted, college students should be studying a lot, but I don’t think any of us know how these teenagers and young adults in China feel.

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