As 生 means life I thought 中学生 = secondary study life.
But actual meaning of 中学生 is Secondary School Student. xuésheng is student, so I remember it as student.
Why it is student rather study life?
Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
中學生活 does mean 'secondary school life', 中學生 however must mean 'secondary school student'.
生 is a compound ideogram comprising 屮 (sprout) and 一 (ground). A sprout emerging from the ground therefore symbolises life and growth.
Besides meaning life (as in 生命), living (as in 生活), growth (as in 生長) etc., 生 has a few other noteworthy derived meanings. 生 in 中學生 corresponds to the second row:
|n. the living||養育眾生 lit. to feed everyone that is alive|
|n. the literati, the learned, pupil||學生, 生徒 (retained in Japanese), 諸生 (obsolete)|
|n. nature; fundamental character (now replaced by 性)||天性 (天生 in classical Chinese)|
|adj. raw||生魚片 lit. raw fish slices|
Most characters have multiple meanings, some can act as a noun, verb, or adjective. 生 is a character like this
For '生' to specifically mean 'life', it has to join another character to form a compound word like 人生(one's life/ human's life), 生命(life), 生涯(duration of one's life)
Notice: 生 in 此生(this life) is shortened form of 人生
'学生' is a compound word for 'student'
'中学生' literally means '中学(学)生' with the repeated character 学 omitted.
小學生 = 小學學生
大學生 = 大學學生
重考生 = 重考考生
重考 (takes the exam again) + 考生 (examinee) = 重考生 (examinee who takes the exam again)