What is higher education really like? People always mention there are “five essential things to do in university” – study hard, get a part-time job, live in the student residential halls, be in a relationship and join the executive committee of a student association. These all sound exciting, of course, but how do you talk about them?
Did you know that people have a special way to say “good luck” when wishing each other good grades, and that there’s a special phrase to describe a long break in your daily class schedule? Read on for more information about how students talk in university, and learn how to explain these Cantonese phrases in English.
上莊 soeng5 zong1 (sherng-jong): Up village
Meaning: to join the committee of a university-based student organisation. The term of duty usually runs for a year, and committee members will organise activities for organisation members and perform other administrative tasks to keep the student society running smoothly.
In English: Join the executive committee; take up an official position in a student association
Example: I think sherng jong is one of the things I need to do during university. Serving my schoolmates would be fun, and we could really make a difference!
天地堂 tin1 dei6 tong4 (teen-day-tong): sky and earth lessons
Meaning: to have a class in the early morning and then have to wait until the late afternoon for the next lesson. You generally don’t have a full-day schedule in university, and it’s possible you might not have a convenient timetable.
In English: Classes with a long period in between
Example: Do you want to hangout later between my teen-day-tong? I have six hours to kill before my next lesson.
Idioms of the week
過三爆四 gwo3 saam1 baau3 sei3 (gwo-saam-bao-say): Pass three explode four
Meaning: to have a grade point average (GPA) over three, or even exceeding four. As the highest GPA is usually four, the idiom describes an extremely good result for students.
In English: to pass with flying colours; ace a class or exam
Example: I know you want to graduate at the top of your class, wishing you gwo-saam-bao-say this semester!
搏盡無悔 bok3 zeon6 mou4 fui3 (bok-zhun-mow-fuy): Go all in, no regrets
Meaning: It means to make the most out of your time in university, trying as many things as possible so that you leave no regrets. It is about enjoying yourself while you still have the chance.
In English: Seize the day; carpe diem; live in the moment
Example: It’s our last semester in university so let’s bok-zhun-mow-fuy and ace our exams!