PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 December, 2008, 12:00am

Paying the price for credit spending

There have been many reports about university students getting into serious debt. I think there are several reasons for these problems.

These days everyone is obsessed with shopping and it is very easy to find and buy goods online.

By using a credit card, these purchases can be made almost instantly without much thought.

Teenagers with low self-esteem are particularly likely to make unwise purchases.

They may believe they will feel better about themselves if they can show off their spending power and own brand-name goods.

Students are encouraged to apply for credit cards by banks who send their representatives to the universities to promote card discounts and benefits.

Many students may think they are missing out on these if they don't hold several cards.

Also, most students think they will be able to clear their debts in the future when they are working.

Even if they are unable to do so, they often believe they can just rely on their families to get them out of financial trouble.

If we want to avoid falling into these traps, it helps to distinguish between what we want and what we really need.

We have to remember that because human wants are unlimited - they cannot always be satisfied.

It is also important to develop a sensible attitude towards money.

We can create a monthly financial plan, watch where our money goes and put a proportion of our cash into a savings account. It's always useful to save for a rainy day.

Koey Chan Kwan-yi, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School

Giving students a sporting chance

Because of the pressure to focus on academic success, some schools are restricting the number of sports lessons they provide to one or two per week.

This is unfortunate because sport not only improves students' physical and mental health - by increasing fitness and decreasing stress - it also enables students to develop better relationships with each other.

Increasing the number of sports lessons provided would not only be good for the all-round development of students, it would probably improve their academic performance as well.

Derek Yuen

Green citizens make a better planet

Everyone is to blame for the damage being done to our environment.

Every time you switch on the air conditioning or your laptop, you are consuming electricity and using up resources.

However, there are four Rs that can help us all become greener global citizens.

We can 'reduce' our consumption.

We should only switch on electrical appliances when necessary and never leave them in standby mode.

We should use public transport or walk instead of using cars. This will not only reduce air pollution but will also improve our health and save us money.

We can reduce the amount of waste we produce, and resources we use up, if we 'replace' disposable goods.

It is better to use our own cutlery to eat takeaway food than take disposable utensils. Bringing your own shopping bag to the supermarket means you won't need a plastic or paper bag.

Plastic products are non-biodegradable and paper production destroys trees.

'Reusing' is perhaps the most convenient way to be eco-friendly. Don't throw away old electronic appliances that still work.

You could continue to use them, give them to a charity or turn them into creative decorations.

Last but not least, 'recycling' not only lessens our production of waste, it also reduces our consumption of raw materials - processing waste paper into recycled paper saves trees.

Using the blue, yellow and brown recycling bins stimulates the growth of green technology, encouraging more and more enterprises to engage in the eco-friendly recycling industry.

The Earth is our home and it is time for us to work together to overcome the environmental challenges we face.

Kenny Chan Kwok-hei, SKH Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary School

You need more than academic success

Recently, I read an article showing how students who graduate from the same university and work in the same industry may still be paid very different salaries.

It seems that it takes more than academic knowledge to build a successful career.

The ability to get on well with other employees and handle difficult tasks are among the skills that make a difference.

We should strive to develop these sorts of talents while we're still in school.

We can take part in extra-curricular activities, learn how to work in a team and solve problems together with our teammates.

Claudia Lam

Appearance versus ability

Too often people are judged on their appearance and not their abilities.

Appearance is not unimportant but if it determined all decisions in life, we would only have to dress up well to succeed.

There would be no reason to study or train.

Clearly we need to look deeper and see people's true worth.

Lee Cheuk-sum, Our Lady of the Rosary College