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Spoilt rich students end up ruining sanctuary of campuses around them

By Li Deyi (Global Times)

13:19, September 14, 2012

In recent years, the wealth gap between college students has grown more and more distinctive. Gone are the days when students went to universities only with bags, pencils and pens. Nowadays, iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks are barely even enough for freshmen, while the truly rich turn to luxury cars and branded clothes to flaunt their wealth.

I'm a senior, and have seen thousands of freshmen turn up at my school. I'll never forget the guy who drove his BMW to his first semester's registration and addressed the staff in a haughty tone, or the family who treated the volunteers who helped them with their heavy luggage like servants.

Over the past three years, I have witnessed numerous student fights and heard of or seen a lot of incidents related to the wealth gap between college peers. And it seems that kids from rich families can get what they want only with a little effort, while their counterparts from average families have to work their hearts out.

As a senior, I am facing uncertainty after graduation, so recently I've been focusing on my future plans a lot. My situation contrasts sharply with the rich kids around me.

Some are eager to plan graduate study in foreign countries, but their academic and social records are far from good enough to get into even a second-rate school. As a result, they maximize their powers of persuasion to convince whoever they can to grade them better as well as asking the overseas educational service agency to produce a splendid student transcript with a higher GPA. Of course, most of this persuasion involves money.

And while most of my classmates are busy applying for jobs, or preparing for interviews, those rich students are enjoying a relaxed social life. They never worry that they will be jobless after graduation, since their wealthy and powerful parents have managed to reserve them a position through their guanxi (connections).

Those are true stories and drive me nuts. It's not because of envy, jealousy or hate, but a sense of justice. It is obviously unfair that a few people get to escape the rules of society.

And the corrosiveness of wealth affects other students. I've already seen such changes in my classmates, like the simple and sweet girl who became a sexy trendsetter, or the kind-hearted village boy who became greedy, envious, and selfish. It's not just in the movies that a girl dumps her poor boyfriend to attach herself to a rich kid.

The wealth gap produces students with a distorted sense of wealth, an irresponsible attitude, and even a desire to sit and enjoy the fruits of others' work.

And it teaches the poorer students that money is not just the most important thing, it's the only thing. That is the saddest part of the wealth gap on campus. It's destroying the values of students, who should be the backbone of society.

I feel lost experiencing the increasing wealth gap on campus, so do many of my schoolmates. The campus, which is supposed to be a pure and equal sanctuary, is now tainted by the wealth gap.

There are already poor students questioning whether they can truly change their fate through education, or whether the spoilt children of the rich will always win.

What will our campuses look like in the future if the trend cannot be curbed?

The author is a senior student at the School of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Beijing Wuzi University. [email protected]

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