For university students, is pursuing the dream of buying a 600 square foot flat worth sacrificing their youth and happiness?
That is the question Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) vice-chancellor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu asked in a recent blog post, Apple Daily reports.
Sung said it is sad that children have to shoulder the expectations of their parents, and society is placing too big an emphasis on economic return.
The vice-chancellor said he feels increasingly puzzled with what is on the minds of young people nowadays, despite having worked in education for over two decades.
Sung said he could not understand why youngsters nowadays are growing increasingly discontented with life, why they would take to the streets and even use violence.
He was equally at a loss as to why there are more young people diagnosed with depression and the suicide rate is on the rise.
Sung called on parents to let their children dream their dreams, even if those dreams are not going to make a lot of money or make them famous.
He concluded by asking if happiness not more important than accomplishments.
Winnie Lee, director of New Steps Psychological & Educational Services, who formerly served as a counseling psychologist at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said 10-15 percent of university students develop stress and anxiety adapting to life in tertiary institutions, Sky Post reports.
Lee said many students suffer from insomnia, lack of appetite and other physical and mental issues when examinations are looming.
Others have reported trembling in their hands and difficulty in concentrating whenever they enter examination rooms.
In extreme cases, some have had to apply for deferment of studies.
Zanonia Chiu, a clinical psychologist at the Hong Kong Psychological Society, said an increasing number of students have become more self-centered, and this could be the result of their families stressing that they must set themselves high standards in all areas of life.
The consequence of that is these students have become vulnerable and will refuse to take on challenges, as they fear losing out.
On Saturday, a third-year female student in CUHK’s medical school took her life in her Fanling flat, the seventh suicide among university students in Hong Kong this academic year.
EJ Insight supports efforts to help people deal with depression and related issues. Here is the 24-hour multilingual suicide prevention hotline of The Samaritans: +852 2896 0000 (or email [email protected]).
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