Source: 恒星英语学习网  Onion  2009-05-03  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

Being a Chinese college graduate isn't what it used to be.

First of all, there are many more of them, 6.1 million fresh ones this year, a 9.3% rise from last year, due to an expansion of universities since 1999. Gloom awaits: As many as two million may fail to find work, according to some estimates (link in Chinese).

For Liu Kai and Yu Min, two biotechnology majors from Harbin Institute of Technology's Weihai campus in Shandong Province, a first visit to Beijing to look for work means a gradual lowering of expectations and a reevaluation of the prize they can bring home.

They are both only children from rural Shandong families and were considered outstanding students. Their schooling at Harbin Institute of Technology, often described as one of China's top 20 universities, cost their families around 11,000 yuan a year but inspired tremendous pride ″ and expectations that now weigh heavily on their shoulders.

Yu knows he needs to find a job to make life easier for his parents, who have been basically unemployed since their farmland was taken over by the local government to make way for new construction.

'As I was always a good student, my dad was always proud of me, but now I don't see a clear future,' he said.

Since the two started their last year of school, the world and China has undergone a series of financial convulsions and they're graduating this year into a much-changed landscape. But word of this has yet to sink in at home.

As Liu said: 'Two of our neighbors in my village are much envied because their children are doing very well in cities. One has already bought three houses in Tianjin, while the other is working in a hospital in Shanghai and recently brought his parents to Shanghai to live. But my university is much better than theirs, so my relatives all think I could find a better job. This really puts a lot of pressure on me.'

The very fact that they're looking for work three months before graduation wasn't part of the plan. 'As soon as we entered the university, we were told that for our major, the best choice was to keep studying for a Master's degree or even a doctorate, that only in this way could we have a bright future,' said Mr. Liu.

But a tougher job market amid the economic slowdown has prompted a rush to graduate schools this year, with 1,246,000 students taking entrance exams, 3.8% more than last year.

In such keen competition, the two missed the cutoff.

Thus, the train ride from Shandong is not just a 12-hour inconvenience, but also a journey down the social ladder. Clutching a long list of job fairs, they head out for a brisk encounter with reality.

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