Are Chinese College Students Too Spoiled?

October 18, 2012
Editor: Sun Xi
Last month, thousands of teenagers in China began their new lives as college students []

Last month, thousands of teenagers in China began their new lives as college students []

Last month, thousands of eager teenagers arrived on college campuses across China, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to embark on their new lives as college students.

Sadly, it soon became apparent that many of them were woefully ill-equipped for life outside the parental nest, as news reports began appearing on some of their ridiculous antics.

From the student who demanded an Apple 'three-piece' (iPhone, iPad and Macbook) to the freshman who mailed seven pairs of socks home for his mother to wash after his first week, Chinese college students have been gaining a reputation for being 'too delicate'.

Don't Want to Wash Your Socks? Throw 'Em Away!

"His parents bought dozens of pairs of new socks for him and told him to throw them away after using them," posted one freshman from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute on his microblog, commenting about a bizarre roommate of his.

"White socks are hard to wash and they're really cheap, only about two to three yuan (US$ 0.3 to 0.5) a pair," his roommate said.

He's not the only college student having laundry issues. One student at Chongqing Normal University wrote on her blog: "First week of college is ending. I have a backpack of dirty clothes to bring home for my mother to wash."

She later explained to those who commented on the post that there were no washing machines in her dorm (Chinese college students usually hand wash their clothes) and her mother had told her to bring her laundry home.

A Month's Income on a Bowl of Dumplings

While it's normal for college students to crave home cooked food rather than the stodgy fare usually served in college dining halls, one Qingdao (east China's Shandong Province) student took it a step further.

Having heard of her son's wish to eat her hand-made wontons (dumplings), his mother made the wontons, packed them into a flask, hopped on to a plane from southeast China's Zhejiang Province, and personally hand delivered them to her son.

"This bowl of wontons cost nearly a month's worth of my income. But it's worth it because my son is happy," said the devoted mother. Her son is a shy young man who, according to him, has never washed his own clothes before.

Unable to Get Dressed without Mom

"I lived with my parents until I left for college. At the beginning, I had to call my mom every day just so I knew what to wear," says college student He, who feels embarrassed when she thinks about it.

"My mom used to lay out my clothes every morning and I never had to think about what to wear. But living away from her, it's like I don't know how to live. She has to call me to tell me when I need to put on a jacket because the seasons are changing and it's getting cold," she added.

Her dorm mates chimed in saying that when He could not get her quilt to fit into its cover, she broke down and called her mother, sobbing on the phone.

Inconsiderate Dorm Mates

One college student called Shen described a stunningly inconsiderate and unhygienic dorm mate of his.

"Maybe it's because he grew up spoiled or something but it was as if he had no idea how to live or do the most basic stuff. He would use up other people's hot water in the morning instead of fetching his own," said Shen, "He didn't wash his bedding for two years and when he finally washed it and hung it up to dry, there was an imprint of his body on it. Disgusting!"

Excellent in Studies, Hopeless at Living

One student, Xiao Fei, was accepted into a highly prestigious university in south China. Far from being overjoyed, she suddenly had a breakdown just before the semester started, saying she didn't want to go and instead wanted to do another year of high school and then go to a local university. She cried and said she could never live so far away from home.

"We were so excited over her good performance in the college entrance exams. Now, she says she doesn't want to go!" her mother said.

As the school was so prestigious, her parents insisted she go. Since then, Xiao Fei has been suffering severe insomnia and anxiety. She loses her temper easily and cries a lot.

"It's my fault. I spoiled her," said her mother, sighing.

Dorm Life: Not for Me

"She is very willing to go through a lot of trouble just to take a shower alone," said one college student about her dorm mate, Xiao Na. On Chinese college campuses, most students visit large bath houses on campus to take showers. However, Xiao Na made it clear that she doesn't like the 'environment'.

As a result, she takes a bus to her aunt's place nearby every afternoon, has a shower there and then takes a bus back to campus.

"I never lived away from home before and I can't adapt to dorm life. I'd rather go to my aunt's place and be with family," said Xiao Na.

Delicate Palate

College freshman Xiao Xia eats out everyday because he cannot stomach the food at the school cafeteria.

"My family runs a restaurant so I'm very picky about food. I have no choice but to eat out every day to survive. I told my parents about it and they gave me extra pocket money to dine out," he said.

Raising Dependent Children

Parents demanding to install air conditioning in the dormitory, students wanting to go back home because the school entrance is not impressive enough, and some even lying about their grandfather dying just to escape military training - all these outrageous antics have many Chinese citizens believing that the new generation is spoilt and incapable of becoming functioning adults.

Chongqing Normal University dormitory manager Shi Rencai said that the 'scene' during freshmen enrollment this year was a huge headache. "Even grandparents joined in. Parents and grandparents were busy cleaning the rooms and unpacking, while the students sat on their beds playing with their mobile phones. Some parents even assured their children that they would come every weekend to clean the dorm for them!" he said.

"These students are mostly the only child in their families, so they are pampered and showered with love. But this year was excessive; the new students seemed totally helpless, and their parents handled everything, including registration procedures, making the beds and cleaning," posted Tian Zhengmin, senior counselor at Southwestern University, on his microblog.

Tian also said that many of the new college students have a self-defeating attitude towards challenges, always assuming that they will fail before they have even tried. He says that this attitude makes it hard for them to adjust to living with other people.

Zhang Guojian, counselor at the Institute of Media at Chongqing Normal University, commented that the exam-oriented education system and parents who spoil their children have resulted in a generation of young people who only know how to concentrate on studying and are totally unequipped for daily life.

Zhang suggests that schools should arrange special lectures and trainings before the new semester begins, so as to better prepare the students.

"These students need to understand that they need to stop depending on other people and start becoming more self-reliant if they eventually want to become functioning members of society," he concluded.

(Source: and edited by

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