3 Ridiculous Soul-Crushing Rules At China’s #3 University
There’s a reason why so many Chinese people are burned out, have extremely limited social lives, and are glued to their phones 24/7 in case their boss comes calling.
I graduated high school a few months ago and I needed a visa in order to stay in China for my gap year (my passport is Canadian). I enrolled at a pre-university program to study Chinese thinking it would be a breeze, that I would only need to take a few hours of Chinese Mon-Fri and be able to focus on my entrepreneurship endeavours. WRONG!
As an entrepreneur who grew up in Canadian/American schooling systems, I was extraordinarily shocked about some of these rules university students have to abide by 👩🎓.
1. No power after 10PM in the dorms — for 💡… but also 🔌
My program is for non-Chinese students looking to learn Chinese, meaning that due to COVID the mass majority of students can’t actually enter China to attend class. I am in Shanghai because I was here already, and then there are two other Koreans who are here — The other 98 students are all virtual 👩💻.
I also don’t live on campus since I already have a place in Shanghai. But my two Korean friends told me that the rule is that there is NO POWER after 10PM. I thought this was absolutely ridiculous.
And then he broke it to me and said: “我更适应的是充不了手机的电” [What I struggle with even more is that I can’t charge my phone]. WTF?!?
When I asked the supervisor (a 60+ year old Chinese woman) about this, she said it was because they “don’t want students to engage in any activities in hours that might not be monitored by teachers.”
The solution? A lot of portable chargers. A lot. Lights are back on at 6AM.
2. There’s no wifi anywhere except for the academic buildings
This includes libraries, cafeterias, and dorms. Studying is meant to be done only in classrooms during monitored times (aka self-study courses).
3. Evening self-study is mandatory and monitored in class
My schedule starts from 8:50AM in the morning and ends at 8:20PM. From 6:00–8:20PM, there is a mandatory self-study class. Students are required to be in class for this. I know it might not seem like much, but considering the day’s classes end at 4:20 PM and the school campus is one hour from the city, this basically holes everyone up on campus the entire day, Monday through Thursday. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have anything to do, you have to just sit in class 🏫.
Of course, there are good things about the school and there are some students who are genuinely happy. But I am curious about how this reflects onto China’s education system as a whole since many of these kids who grew up haven’t experienced anything different at all. And, mind you, this is Jiaotong University in Shanghai: The #3 ranked university in all of China.
Where’s the innovation? The creativity? The opportunity? These kids are subject to academics 24/7, it’s the only life that they know. All my friends in the US go to university classes for two hours a day — isn’t this freedom what college should be about?
In case you’re wondering, I thankfully don’t have to abide by rules #1 and #2 since I don’t live on campus. I also “attend self-study online via Zoom”, but I had to really fight with them to give me this leeway.
It honestly feels like these universities are trying to control every single aspect of these students' lives, and turn them into obedient little robots 🤖.
There is a lot more to say about these programs, both good and bad, and little things I’ve observed and experienced. More to come soon.
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Thank you for reading! My name is Rachel and I am an eighteen year old serial entrepreneur, community builder, and marketing/branding creative. I love writing about feminism, entrepreneurship, personal development, relationships, and the crazy world of China.