Being a recently high school graduate, one cannot blame me for communicating with the similar age group here in China. From my conversations, I have reached a simple yet layered conclusion, that “life sucks shit being a Chinese HS student.”
With the understanding that all thing are but relative, my conclusion is only valid when compared to my own HS experience, but dude your life sucks shit if you are a HS student over here. First off, you are at school 6 days a week…. not 1…… not 2……not 3, but 6 days a week. You go to school in the morning for 5 hours, then come home for lunch for 1 hour, then another 5 hours in the afternoon, only to have 2 more hours of “night study” at school. Now, that’s a lot of time spent at school, for purely academics.
It wouldn’t be so bad to spend so much time at school if you are doing what you enjoy and actually have control over your activities. But no, you must study all the required courses with no choice of what subjects or even what difficulties of the same subject to study. Even though each individual is different, all are forced to conform and succumb to the same mold. Being understanding, I simply attribute such “inconsiderate” behavior to the immense size of the Chinese population.
But life still sucks shit, not only are all students assigned to clean, repair, and refurbish certain areas of the school, they also have to pay tuition for a public education. The school takes in a grandiose amount of income in tuition and other “gifts”, while limiting the amount of budget spent on improving student life and education, even to be so stingy as to not hire much if any (janitors, gardeners, cleaners, lunch-ladies) while assigning students to do these jobs as a “requirement” to graduation.
Enough about the hardware, let’s talk about the software, the actual high school “education” itself. Now high school in China is only three years, granted there is still some humanity left in whomever decided shorten the torture from 4 to 3 years. The first year is alright, one has to learn a variety of subjects only to a certain depth in order to cover the wide range of “required courses”, only to end up with no real knowledge of anything, because the time spent on each is so minuscule. Time and youth are not only wasted because students are forced to give up 12 hours (6 days a wk) to school time, (not mentioning the countless hours spent doing “busy work” hw), but student are also deprived of the opportunity to pursue their own interests in (sports, writing, volunteer work, etc.) due to the lack of time in their schedule, already taken up by their “education”.
The second and third year and solely consumed by studying for the “High School Exit Exam”, think about it, you are spending two years of your life studying for one test, on one fateful day, that will likely determine not only the next 4 yrs of your life, but probably your level of income in the next 10 yrs. Once again, life sucks being a HS student in China. This inefficient system of generating talent has led to the recent trend of students here not only going overseas for graduate degrees (like they use to since 1990s), but also more frequently, for undergraduate and high school degrees.
So the next time you gripe and whine about “studying for the SATs, APs, IB tests”, think about the people who have to spend two years studying for one stupid test that will determine a majority of their life, think about those who have to go to school 6 days a week studying subjects they have absolutely no control over or interest in, think about the shitty lives of the Chinese HS students. And be grateful……..if you can