What HK students stress out about

Compiled by Nicole Moraleda

We asked our readers what the biggest pressure facing Hong Kong students is. Here are some of our favourite answers

Compiled by Nicole Moraleda |

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Not enough zzz's

I think the biggest pressure is not getting enough sleep. Right now I’m in Form Two, and my teacher is pushing my class to get ready for the DSE exams. Though I try my best to make good use of every minute, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything, so I can only “recharge” my body at weekends or during long holidays.

Lau Ka-kin, 12, Immaculate Heart of Mary College

Instant adult

Hong Kong students are expected to grow up overnight. Today, you are a secondary school student. You are loved and protected. Then suddenly, you graduate, and have to enter the world of work. You can’t express your emotions. Your boss doesn’t care if you have a mental illness. They’ll make you go into work even during a Typhoon 10. And you haven’t been prepared for any of it.

Tony Lau, 17, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

HKDSE stress

The biggest, and most common pressure among Hong Kong students is the HKDSE. The marks you receive in your DSE exams will determine whether you get into university, and of course this is what a lot of students are working towards. But if you want good marks, you need to start revising in the Form Five summer holidays or even earlier. It’s very stressful.

Hannah Ma Hiu-ki, 14, Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School

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Unhealthy school-life balance

Definitely academic pressure. Students have to buckle down and study almost every day. As well as long hours spent studying at school, they also have to attend tutorial classes. There are a lot of expectations on students from their schools and families to get good grades, so students put all their energy into their studying. It isn’t healthy.

Anna Tsang, 13, Sacred Heart Canossian College

Be all and end all

I think we are all worried about the HKDSE exams. How well you do in your DSEs will have an impact on your future. You may not get to go to the university you want or work for the company you want. If you don’t do well, life will definitely be much harder. It really is the biggest pressure Hong Kong students have to face!

Alex Man Yat-long, 13, Kwok Tak Seng Catholic Secondary school

Stormy weather

I think the global warming is the biggest pressure Hong Kong students have to face. We have known about this issue from a young age and yet it seems that there is no way to solve it. Take Typhoon Mangkhut. Hong Kong has never had to deal with a typhoon like this before. Global warning definitely has something to do with it.

Lucas Lee Zhe-heng, 12, Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School

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Will you be my friend?

I think friendships can cause stress. Many Hong Kong students have to move from a single-sex school to a co-ed school, and it can be difficult to adapt and make new friends. At break times, they won’t have anyone to hang out with.

Chloe Wong, 12, Scientia Secondary School

Need to fit in

I think the biggest pressure we have to face is peer pressure. Our friends are very important to us, so we are often easily influenced by them. We might compare ourselves to our friends, and feel like we have to be more like them to be accepted.

Kitty Chan Ka-ki, 13, Hong Kong Chinese Women’s Club College

Never-ending school work

It has to be homework. Our teachers always give us so much! After a full day of lessons and after-school activities, we feel so tired, but we still need to do our homework. The government says “every child should have at least one hour of play time a day” but this never happens. We hardly have time to rest, let alone play!

Kuan Wai-cheong, 15, STFA Seaward Woo College

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Parental pressure

While students do face a lot of pressure from teachers, they aren’t the only ones putting us under pressure. Our parents do it, too. They always want us to be the best children in the world. They don’t see us humans, but as studying machines. We also deal with pressure from our friends. During your teen years, you are easily influenced by your peers. You have to prove that you are “cool”, otherwise they won’t want to hang out with you.

Chan Wai-chung, 14, King Ling College

For next week’s Top 10, tell us:

If you had the power to read minds, whose mind would you read?

Send your answer, together with your name, age and school, to [email protected] with “Top 10: mind reader” in the subject field. Our favourite answers will appear in next week’s Top 10 page!

Nesta comic strip competition

Calling all artists and writers! If you want to share more of your thoughts on teen pressures, why not enter the Native English Speaking Teachers’ Association’s comic strip competition?

All you need to do is create comic strip based on the theme “teen pressures”. It should have six to eight frames, be hand-drawn, and include both words and pictures.

Send your entries to: NESTA P.O. Box 97196 Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Include your name, address, school year, and school name on the back of your comic strip. The deadline is January 31, 2019

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge