Time to let off steam

Updated: 2011-07-12 11:09

By Liu Xiangrui (China Daily)

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After the pressure cooker of national exams, students are making the most of the summer vacation in a variety of ways. Liu Xiangrui finds out more.

"Cool hand painted T-shirts! No color fading and order your favorite patterns!" calls out Li Yaqian, 17, who runs a stall at a flea market in north Beijing with her best friend Chen Yuwei. As millions of high school graduates get a well-deserved break after their gaokao, or college entrance examinations in early June, they have come up with diverse ideas to spice up the three-month-long holiday before entering university.

Time to let off steam

High school graduates Chen Yuwei and Li Yaqian (middle) sell their hand-painted T-shirts at a flea market in Beijing. [Photo/China Daily]

Some have taken on part-time jobs to make money and get some experience of the "real world".

After Li, a graduate of Beijing No 17 Middle School, came across the Beijing flea market she decided to sell notebooks and ornaments she didn't need anymore at rock bottom prices.

She also decided to use her design skills (she has applied to study design at Beijing University of Technology) and create T-shirts, along with her business partner Chen.

They bought some T-shirts at a wholesale market and painted designs on them. They sell their merchandize at the flea market two or three times a week, from 4 pm to 10 pm, when their parents pick them up.

"It's real-life experience. We enjoy this so much," Li says.

"Schooling has been her life over the years and she'd never tried anything like this before," says Li's mother, Yan Xiulan. "Of course I don't expect her to make much money, but it's good preparation for life."

Li has sold nearly all the 70 T-shirts she purchased, for a profit of 3,000 yuan ($464). She has even roped in former classmates to help promote her business.

Li adds that her experience has inspired other former classmates to also take on part-time jobs over the holiday period.

Soon after his exams, 20-year-old Chen Jinlong from Quanzhou, Fujian province, found his part-time job in room service at a five-star hotel in the neighboring city of Xiamen on a job-hunting website.

Chen deliberately looked for a job at a major hotel in the belief he could improve his English by talking to foreign guests.

"The real situation is quite different, because there aren't so many foreigners," he says. However, he is not disappointed because of the experience he has gained.

"I've made some good friends here, had a lot of fun, and learned some lessons," says Chen, who adds that he pays more attention to detail because of his work.

"What's more, I understand that making money is not that easy and communicating is not that difficult when you take the initiative to talk to others."

He has also learned to be financially independent.

"I messaged all my family members on June 27 saying I'll never ask a penny from them, even for my university tuition."

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