It was only last year that I stopped having one particular recurring nightmare: I would be back in high school or college, and it would be the day before a big exam, and it would dawn on me that I had never attended any classes; or I would totally forget that I had even signed up for a course; or I would discover that I was a chronic class-cutter; that kind of thing.
I have no idea why these scenarios implanted themselves in my unconscious. I had a relatively easy time in school, considering I never fainted before a test, or felt the need to kill anything because of exam-related stress (Global Times: “Frogs in a pond near a residential compound in Qingdao, Shandong Province were poisoned recently by property management personnel to stop their croaking from interrupting students’ sleep, according to media reports”). Still, those nightmares…
All this is a long way of saying that I can’t imagine how gaokao — China’s national college entrance exam — will scar the psyches of this country’s youth. If I thought my nightmares were bad (though the relief from waking and realizing that I was in fact free from the bonds of institutional education was always a nice shot of euphoria for the morning), I can’t imagine the horrors today’s students will relive for the rest of their lives… especially if they, heavens forbid, fail to test up to expectations, their own or otherwise.
After the jump, pictures to commemorate the high school students of China, who are undergoing gaokao today and tomorrow. We’ll discuss this topic in-depth after the weekend. (Curated by Alicia, who supplied the captions.)
Sources: Sina (H/T Bo Li)