What are Generation Z College Students Thinking?

May 2021
Three recipients of Link University Scholarship for the fourth consecutive year get together for the first time. What are their views on life in post-pandemic future?

Ng Sin-hoi, Jimmy (left), student of International Business and Chinese Enterprise at The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Lin Weijie, Aaron (middle), law student at The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Chiu Tsz-kei (right), student of Chinese Language and Literature at The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Jimmy, Aaron and Tsz-kei are three university students of different disciplines but with one thing in common – they are all recipients of the Link University Scholarship for the fourth consecutive year, having stood out from over 1,000 applicants. This is the first get-together between the three Generation Z students who have excelled both academically and socially. After the experience of the past year and a half, what are their views on life in the post-pandemic future?

Study=Make Money=Success?

In Hong Kong, we often hear anecdotes about how some blue-collar workers earning more than university graduates. While this may mean that degrees can no longer guarantee well-paid jobs, Aaron believes that money is not the only life metric: "You can broaden your horizons and build interpersonal relationships at universities. These are all valuable experiences in life."

On the other hand, Jimmy thinks that while technical skills may help you complete a task quicker, studying gives you the ability to analyse whether something should be done and how to be done. To Tsz-kei, what important is the Liberal Studies courses offered by universities, as they allow students to cultivate values. “Four years of university life gives you time to think about the future and set clear goals.”

Generation Z students

The Pandemic Encourages One to Reflect on The Future

As the pandemic continues, not only has campus life been affected, but it has also compelled the trio to reflect on their own future.

Many industries are unable to withstand the impact of the pandemic and have to lay off employees to reduce expenses. This has inspired Aaron, a law student, to develop an interest in sustainable development, with the goal of eventually becoming an Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) lawyer: "A company can’t only thrive when the economy is good. Instead, it should be able to grow under any circumstances. More and more companies are paying attention to how better to respond to climate change, which in turn stimulates future demands for ESG." As for Jimmy, health and a job that matches one’s interest are just as important as wages. "Once you find your interest and do a good job, wages will go up on its own."

Speaking of the many new technologies that have emerged during the pandemic, the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is widely seen to be a primary trend of the future. Tsz-kei believes: "AI can help save time spent on work. As long as people spend their time on something worthwhile and meaningful, technology cannot replace human beings. On the contrary, if people just sleep away all the time saved, they will only become stupider."

Effective Use of the Scholarship

The Link University Scholarship grant for each awardee is $20,000. The three all agreed that the scholarship is not a goal but a means to enhance the quality of their education and life experience: Tsz-kei has used the scholarship on Japanese lessons; Jimmy spent it on a Financial Times subscription; Aaron used it to pay for travel expenses for the internship in Mainland China to enrich life experience. The three said that the Scholarship has reduced their financial burden, so that they don't have to take on part-time jobs and can instead focus on self-enhancement.

Value of Generation Z

Link University Scholarship Open for Application

Link University Scholarship is part of the Link Together Initiatives, the flagship charity and community engagement programme of Link. The Scholarship awards students who are the first among three generations of their families to attend Hong Kong universities. The scholarship grant for each awardee is HK$20,000. Link introduced this non-means-tested scholarship in 2015 and has since offered 1,160 scholarships. Link University Scholarship 2021/22 is now open for application, and the deadline of application is 30 June 2021. The total number of Scholarship awardees will increase from 190 to 220 this year and open to three self-financing universities for the first time. For details about the application process, please refer this website.

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