High price of a free lunch when parents treat

Study question: Shouldn't we be out looking for part-time work?

Ralph Jennings is a journalist and long time resident of China. He currently lives in Taipei. From mid-2000 to 2006, he had an advice column in the 21st Century weekly newspaper in which he answered letters from thousands of students and young professionals. Below is a letter from the archive, with an introduction by Jennings.

Parents in China almost always pay their children’s way through college. I know of no case where they don’t. If mom and dad want son or daughter to come back with a college degree, and I know of no case where they don’t, they save money for it. It’s an expense as basic as rice. Even families that are struggling to get by save what they can. Parents see the degree as an investment: high scores plus prestigious college equal well-paid job. But mom and dad usually don’t communicate this to their children, who take a crash course in guilt and confusion when they notice classmates taking part-time jobs. This October 2010 letter to 21st Century is the latest case:

Student letters to a foreign agony uncle

Dear Ralph,

I'm a sophomore in college. Recently I see some of my friends doing part-time jobs in their spare time to earn some money so that they need not ask their parents for it. In fact I feel shameful that we college students cannot share the financial burden of the family by earning some money while we study in college. But I do realize that a part-time job will cost me a lot of time on study. I am not a straight-A student and want to spend more time on my major first more than anything else. Moreover, I am often told that work experience is more significant than the specialized knowledge of books confirmed by a diploma. It confuses me whether I should earn money by myself or focus on my studies while asking my parents for money.


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Comments on High price of a free lunch when parents treat

get a job, but not too many hours if you don't need it.

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