New graduates feel mixed emotions about the future

By Yan Dongjie | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-11 08:49
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Zhang Xiaojing (left) and friends pose for a photo before their graduation ceremony at Beijing Jiaotong University this year. CHINA DAILY

While they find China's high global standing reassuring, college leavers are anxious about growing competition in the job market. Yan Dongjie reports.

The annual college graduation season is just drawing to a close. As most of this year's graduates were born in 2000 or 2001, they are the first of the "00's generation" to leave the campus and enter the workplace.

These graduates also have a second defining characteristic: three of their four years of college life were dominated by the COVID-19 epidemic, so they stayed home to take online classes or were quarantined in their dormitories. Some said they were surprised to have graduated without having eaten in every one of their school's canteens.

Those factors have left two marks on them: a sense of security engendered by the favorable economic environment that has cushioned their young lives, while conversely they are anxious after the epidemic and as a result of the growing competition for jobs.

Zhang Xiaojing, who was born in September 2000, graduated from Beijing Jiaotong University with a bachelor's in internet journalism. Like her peers, she is skilled in the use of a range of news software, self-media platforms and social media apps. She took many online classes at home, and the huge amount of information flowing from the internet meant that even from her earliest days at university she learned to think, be discerning and plan.

"My generation is exposed to too much information, so when making future life choices, we need a stronger ability to sift through information. If you make a big life choice in a confused way, the risks are bigger than before," she said.

With a plan for her future career in mind, she began an internship in the summer of her sophomore year. After trying five different companies and units including iQiyi, Tencent and traditional media she decided to undertake postgraduate study.

"I tried a few different jobs and fluctuated between the feeling that I was the right fit or the wrong fit. I need more time to look at it and try more things in different areas," she said.

"School is a very special period when we can learn social behavior and even make mistakes. We still have a lot of experience to gain, so we want to continue to obtain it as students, which I think comes at a relatively low cost. I will have to work for several decades, but my educational life is less than 20 years, so there's no hurry."

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