The Sanshi'erli Scare: Over Thirty and Still A Student? | Speaking of China

11 Responses

  1. Sveta
    Sveta September 12, 2011 at 3:57 am | | Reply

    I think in the culture I come from we also have similar ideas. I used to date a Korean that was almost thirty, and my mom, (in private) nitpicked on him being a perpetual college student and when will he “grow up” so to speak. (He’s also a constant traveler and dreams of being an Anglican Minister.) Recently, his older brother had a son, and in November his younger brother will get married. (He’s the middle child.) I’ll be 26 on 5th of October, and for the time being done with my education. (Majored in history) My real dream has always been to be a writer. Sad to say, I haven’t had other career dreams, and in honesty, I don’t have confidence in myself when it comes to anything. (But then it’s a story I really have no desire to talk about.)

  2. Claire
    Claire September 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm | | Reply

    My boyfriend wanted to do a PhD but decided he was too old to start it as it takes too long to complete… 🙁 If, in the end, it means you can do what you really want to do it’s worth the hassle. He even told me that he thought one of his colleagues had stayed in education too long and he was married with a child – going by this I’m not sure if it’s possible to do anything right.

    Before I was enlightened by your blog and I realised how sensitive a topic turning 30 was I made a grave mistake. My boyfriend was complaining to me about how old he felt after he had turned 30 (blablabla) and I said ‘If you feel old now, how are you going feel when you turn 40!?’. Well, that shut him up but I probably could have worded it better – oops!

  3. Bruce
    Bruce September 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm | | Reply

    I’m 40 yrs old and I think and feel like in my 20’s although I have some injuries from sports and bodybuilding. You have to understand that men in their 20’s don’t work as hard like 10 or 15 yrs ago . Everything is given to them by their parents. They don’t even know how to write the word ” hardship” because they haven’t been there.I’ll write more later on this subject.

  4. Bruce
    Bruce September 12, 2011 at 9:51 pm | | Reply

    It’s is a very common feeling to compare with friends and others on career , house and having a family. I hear that very often but actually you’re not losing anything or gaining anything at all. John is almost near the finish line for his PhD and why not work a little bit longer and have a better career than the rest of the families for good this time. Do you know with a high level of degree ,it’s easier to land a job during a recession or a depression ? You can work aboard with a PhD from America and foreign countries will accept your degree. We are talking about a PhD here ,not a B.S. degree or A.A degree . Suffer for another few yrs of studyings or regret for a lifetime. Do the math for me !!! I know a doctor who nets $400k anually. $170k or less is still good . John, I know you’re reading this. Bring the PhD home for Jocelyn 🙂 ! 15 yrs ago, I used to have this feeling that how come everyone was having better jobs and driving better cars than me. I felt like I was a useless person. You know an average person changes job 3 to 5 times in his lifetime. Trust me , the right job will come and look for you believe me. God has his way of finding the right job for each person. Well, 15 yrs later I think I have a better job, a better healthier lifestyle and a way better way of life than most of my friends . Having a kid , having nice car or a huge home doesn’t mean you will have a stable , happy life either. If you’re a smart person, end the rat race now and your life will be beautiful . I’ve been there so I’m telling you guys now. If you dont believe me ,go ahead and be a slave for the bank for the rest of your life. You mean people who make big money , have expensive cars and a nice home don’t worry at all? They all worry to tell you the truth unless everything is paid off and you have several real estates to collect rent w/o mortgages. Talking about having a family ( kids). It will cost you $250k to raise a kid until he/she reaches 18 yrs old if you want him/her to have a better future. Even you spend quarter of a million dollars that doesn’t mean your kid will listen to you or study what you dictate him/her to study or become in the future. You have another dilema there. Don’t spoil your kids. Let them earn it because they will go crazy once you stop giving them money.

  5. SAM
    SAM September 12, 2011 at 11:03 pm | | Reply

    Well, I am 29 year old, and I am planning to do my Phd Next year. It sometimes occurs to me that i may be too old to do the Phd in my 30. But then i think again.. it may be the greatest investment ever in my life. So if i do get accpeted and i can afford it, i will do the Phd regardless how my friends or relatives thinking about it. I dont like being compared and dont see any sense to compare me with other people.

  6. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian September 13, 2011 at 6:57 am | | Reply

    三十而立 sanshi erli was the mantra too, here among the Malaysian Chinese community. But nowadays many Chinese here opt to work for financial stability before settling down and starting a family. This, together with the fact that many Chinese are migrating to other countries for better paying jobs and prospects have caused the Chinese population here to decline. The problem of a worrying decline in the birth rate in Singapore is caused mainly by couples there marrying late. The Singapore government there tries to solve the problem, and very successfully too, by attracting talented people from all over the world including from China, by offering good paying jobs, conducive working environment and career advancement prospects. Here is Malaysia, the government only makes desultory attempts to arrest the problem of brain drain. What we have here is the worrying problem of the influx of unskilled labour, many of whom come here illegally as a recent biometric registration exercise of foreign workers shows.

  7. namenotgiven
    namenotgiven September 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm | | Reply

    Yes I have felt the pressure, but then I have never quite done things in a conventional fashion.

  8. Mike
    Mike September 13, 2011 at 4:22 pm | | Reply

    John, your life is still way better than most Chinese students in US since you have a wife and a family. Those who are around your age, still work on their PhD. At the mean time, they don’t have girl friends, get Dear John Letters from their loved ones in their home country, struggle to survive, graduate, find a job and get new visa, green card, ect… Life is tough for those people, who used to be elite students in prestigious universities when they were in China. So, please look forward, at least you have a loved one who doesn’t mind you being at school.

  9. cool
    cool September 14, 2011 at 6:00 am | | Reply

    a phd is only useful if you’re venturing into research , for a cause you’re passionate about – not to get a better job….

  10. Miriam
    Miriam September 15, 2011 at 3:54 am | | Reply

    Studying is important, and it’s great. But so is being a father for Chinese men, and it sounds like he’d really love to be a father. Honestly, it’s so manageable to have a child alongside all other things going on in life. Sometimes we think it’s too much or not the right time but those precious little imps always seem to fit in beautifully and add such joy to the everyday things that it can actually encourage and drive on mom or dad on their road of life-long learning. Sorry for playing devil’s advocate but that’s how I see it! And thanks for sharing your personal experiences! They are valued

  11. Samantha
    Samantha September 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm | | Reply

    For me, age does not matter if you want to learn. Learning does not stop as you aged.

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