大学毕业之后应该马上找工作、读研还是考公务员呢？这是每一届毕业生都要面临的问题。其实你还可以有一个选择，那就是：take a gap year.
以下是Global Times (Metro Shanghai)近期刊登的一篇评论，文中部分内容配有中文翻译。
More Chinese students should consider taking gap years
“Apply slowly,” according to Tian Guanren, a Chinese guidance counselor at Northeastern University, is a new neologism among fresh college graduates to mean that, if students can’t find an ideal job after graduation, they will first find a simple job that can support them while they continue to look for better opportunities.
In China, approximately 7 million college students graduate every year, and this year I am one of them. Some of my classmates have already found jobs in the private sector while others will be preparing for their civil service exams or enrolling in graduate studies programs. I, however, have no job yet, no desire to become a bureaucrat and no plans to continue my studies. Instead, I will be taking a gap year.
To many older, traditional Chinese, I may come across as a failure. They think I will just be wasting my time by traveling abroad or volunteering. They think I should be immediately entering the job market to start my career, or enroll in a master’s program. They also think I should start thinking about finding a husband, to make life easier for myself. But for me, none of these options are how I want to spend my best years as a young adult.
Gap years are, admittedly, more popular among Westerners, who view it as an opportunity to see the world, experience life abroad and develop themselves personally and spiritually. Some go backpacking across continents, others sign up with NGOs to volunteer in developing countries, and many more pursue creative or innovative ventures.
Indeed, among the “gappers” whom I have met, most seem to have returned home with a far more positive outlook on life, a broader view of the world and more mature personalities. They come across as highly confident and independent and well-prepared to begin their professional lives.
I once read an article about a young Chinese girl’s gap year travelling all around Asia, stopping in different countries along the way to teach or volunteer. She accumulated an abundance of unique, life-affirming experiences, met lots of interesting people and acquired a tremendous immaterial fortune that no job could ever offer.
The reason why gap years have become more important than ever among recent Chinese graduates is that, frankly, the local job market is bleak and our options are quite limited. Between 7 and 15 million young adults, half of them with university diplomas, enter China’s job market simultaneously every year to compete for positions that only some of them will get. In 2016, the unemployment rate of Chinese college graduates after graduation was 7.5 percent.
A massive workforce, a large supply-demand gap for skilled workers and an abundance of laid-off workers continue to put pressure on China’s job market. Those fresh grads who do immediately land jobs are probably not finding them very fulfilling. With my classmates, for example, most want to become civil servants simply because it is a steady, easy job. Imagine that being your only ambition in life!
I confess that a big reason why I desperately need a gap year is because I am very confused about what I want to do in life. I am aware of all of my shortcomings, including my utter lack of self-confidence. I think I have some good ideas, but I do not have the courage to put any of them into practice. I believe that, by traveling abroad and interning or volunteering for different organizations, I can develop the skills and confidence necessary to return to China to make a difference.
The Chinese government intends to create 50 million new urban jobs by 2020 and cap unemployment at 5 percent to accommodate the rising number of young university graduates entering the local marketplace. While this may be doable, creating satisfying jobs for us is the real challenge. So I say to my fellow graduates: don’t settle for less. Take a gap year, and take all the time you need to know what you really want to do in life.