In his famous book The Social Contract, Rousseau wrote, "man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains". It became a clue to a radical rethink of my college life. Actually, many senior high school students have beautiful visions of their college lives. After entering college, they will realize that they have to make some compromises to the real college life. However, there could be someone like me who is trying his or her best not to budge an inch on the key issues. And that's why I wrote this passage.
First, I have to point out that "chains" have changed. For senior high school students, they were under explicit compulsions—to receive intense training catering to the exam-oriented education, with a lot of homework and exams. Numerous students were cajoled into yearning for a free and colorful college life in which the compulsions are becoming more implicit.
Can we say a person is free when he or she uses a smart phone without fear of being caught by parents and teachers? Some senior high school students would say yes because they don't know the smartphone could be a surveillant device. All college students are required to install a bunch of apps on smartphones, these apps, in my opinions, are Eyes of Power, students will lose credits if they don't reach the required viewing and learning time on those apps every day.
Second, instead of leading a relaxing life, the red tape will twist around students tightly. From clubs to Student Union, altogether its departments, are full of excessive, rigid and redundant rules and standards, not to mention teachers' offices. For example, I was told that some teachers and classmates were discontent with me just because I didn't greet them politely when we met. Here I could explain: I'm an introverted person when I am not with acquaintances, I love reflecting even while I am walking, and my schedule is always full. Something coming from the red tape put me into deep meditation: if you want to ask for leave, you need to ask for permissions, the longer leave you want to ask, the more teachers' permissions are required.
Third, students are captured by "the Other" in droves. They endorse school's decisions and actions blindly. Being students with blind loyalty, they use empty signifiers to create an illusion beyond the reality, especially those who have chosen to be mouthpieces of school—such as one of my classmates. I corrected her composition in our Japanese writing class. The composition was definitely translated by machine, but it gave a general idea of its content. She made no mention of Japanese for her future job so I don't think she's interested in Japanese at all. In an article she wrote for the school's media hub WeChat official account, she painted a beautiful illusion: a student got up gracefully, washed and dressed, enjoyed the beautiful scenery while walking towards the canteen, had delicious breakfast, took a warm bag of soybean milk to the classroom, studied while drinking. But that's merely the life of a few bourgeois! What about the proletariat? Here is another picture to portray a student's authentic routine life.
A student struggled to get up, feeling amazingly sleepy. It was too late to wash when he got dressed, so he hurried downstairs. He had no choice but to go to the worst canteen in our school because there was not enough time to get to the best one in 10 minutes' walk. He ate monotonous and unpalatable breakfast, went to the teaching building, queued for check-in, walked into the classroom, and made a weak voice in the morning reading class.
The saddest thing is that a person who lives in the illusion, is still contributing to a bigger illusion in a good mood. Those ordinary subjects have only interpreted the world in various ways and created lots of beautiful illusions based on it. It is bound to fall apart like a house of cards. The point, however, is to change it.