Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Last week I was talking with my students about the issue of stress. In my opinion, Chinese undergraduate students are healthier mentally than American undergraduates. But after they graduate, Chinese young people have more pressures imposed on them by society that American young people don't have to deal with. For example, once students graduate from college, their parents will begin to put pressure on them to get married. And when they do get married, there is pressure on them to buy a house. Many young men feel that they will not be able to find a wife if they do not buy a house. Some years ago, I was having coffee with a friend of mine. She was planning to get married in three months and while we were talking, her mother called. When she had finished talking with her mother, she said, "My mother said if my boyfriend cannot buy a house for me, perhaps I should find another man." I said, "You're getting married in three months and your mother is telling you to find another guy?" So young people in China often buy a house when the market is not really right for it, and hurry into marriage so that they can say they have someone.

American young people have a more complicated college life. It's pretty hard to get buy without a car in the States. And many students have part time jobs that take up their time. But after they graduate, American young people have fewer social expectations on them than Chinese young people. There is less inclination for parents to push their children to get married as soon as possible. And when they go get married, they are pretty much free to buy a house when they feel the opportunity is right.

But that having been said, everybody has some stress in their life, and we all have to learn how to deal with it. So I asked my students to tell me what they do to cope with stress. Here are some examples:

Talk with friends.
Talk with my parents.
Eat and sleep.
Talk with my friend and cry.
Watch horror movies and scream.
Singing loud and dancing with passion.
Take a shower.
Go shopping.
Read a book.
Eat bananas.
Listen to music.
Eat some chocolate.
Buy something online even if it's useless.
Play basketball.
Walk lonely.

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