College Vs University Culture?

Posted: July 7, 2008 in Society

Education…wherever you might attain it…be it in a college or university environment doesn’t really matter or does it? Should it matter? It can’t make too much of a difference can it? Well little do you know it makes a whole lot of difference..

I was lucky enough to receive a university education, it definitely didn’t come easy as the bunch of us who wanted to have a chance of getting into local universities worked our asses off suffering in Form 6. My parents encouraged both me and my brother to do Form 6 not just for the sake of gaining entry to university but also to build  character, maturity as Form 5 was just too soon to leave the nest and we had so much to learn. At the end of the day, I gained entry into university and my brother went to college instead(he had always wanted to go to college-thought it was far superior). Well that was his choice…but I never regret taking up the challenge to do Form 6, yes perhaps it was tough but the reward at the end of the day was worth the effort. I did not get all As but I did do well enough to gain entry, although some might agree that sometimes even that is not enough( many friends of mine who did much better than me or equal did not gain entry) But I always want to reach” Menara gading”, it was somehow something I always imagined but never expected to gain.

University life was fantastic, it is not a walk in the park as most college graduates perceive it to be.  I loved the flexibility of being able to do subjects that differed from my major course of study, hell I loved being able to take fun subjects like drama and theater, acting, vocal classes, sociology…. Would I be able to do that in college? Definitely not as I would have to stick to my course requirements. I loved having a huge campus although it sucked that we had to walk everywhere(as the buses were jammed packed-like sardins!)-holler to college kids, we didn’t have cars and although we had ample car park space-those of us that had cars had to apply to gain permission to park, only those qualified ended up permission..

I loved being able to do all sorts of projects, joining things that had nothing to do with my course, learning about various things, watching plays, dances. Going for club meetings at 10pm, walking back, going for supper at midnight, sitting for hours at Hanis, Sany just chatting.  Going up those shaky, scary lifts up Hilton. It was totally crazy. Walking back into campus at 5 in the morning through the lake path, sitting up and doing assignment till the wee hours of the morning.  Classes at times were horrid, we had our share our lousy, not to mention nasty professors, there was nothing we could do about it(any sign of rebellion and miraculously you’d have a drop in your grades) We also had our share our fantastic lecturers, they inspired us, they made us think(yeah they gave us a hard time, forced us to think, to use our brains!) They did not hand everything to us on a gold platter, no notes, nothing. We were given books, articles to refer to and then we were on our own, it was difficult at the beginning but we kind of learnt a lot that way as we were forced to go out, get the information that we needed or else we would be left out. There was tons of books and articles that our prof referred to making it kind of impossible to predict what would come out in our exams. We wouldn’t dare go to class even if we were 5 minutes late or we would have a severe tongue lashing from the professor not to mention being thrown out of class in front of a crowd of 200(core) or something 600(general/elective papers), even now at master’s level I’m still as fearful! We would never take a longer break than normal(we would be scared as hell!) I never dared to pass up assignments late, they would have time limits-one minute later and that’s it!

But now that I’m in a college environment, things are quite the opposite. Students complaint about everything they can possible complain about, but why? It’s like as though, they complain just for the sake of complaining. Why? They feel they have a right to because they pay a huge amount of money, is that justified? I don’t remember my education being free, only a whole lot cheaper!(I’m still paying for it!) They can dislike you just for the sake of it. They want everything handed up to them in a gold platter, all ready for them to consume…Its like high school all over again, only difference is it a whole lot more expensive! If they don’t get through their exams, they blamed everyone but themselves. They deliberately come late, leave early, answer phone calls, sms, the works…why? Because they think they have every right to!!!

Why does both these environments differ? Is it a generation gap?  Are the older generation for fearful, more respectful, more understanding? Or is that the younger ones are more daring(even if its membuta-tuli), bold, adventurous…I don’t know what to call it. Perhaps it just the varied cultures that university and colleges bring? Which is better? Well it depends on what you want? No frills, no fuss is college life, you get in and get out. University has many layers, you learn various things, you go through a whole cultural process, you experience so much more, I feel. But then again I’m a university student, so roots go deep!

So it it the environment or is it the students? I think its the students and perhaps the environment plays a small part. After all they are college students who are similar to university students in many ways and vice versa! Its perhaps just a bigger majority of those sort of students in college as compared to universities. Perhaps fear shouldn’t be a factor to determine what and how you do it in a university, things need to change! University students need to be come more daring and less fearful of everything in sight but still staying true to proper manners, etiquette and discipline. College student on the other hand need to turn it down a notch, learn a thing or 2 from university students, manage their energy, hyper-activeness, their daring and rebellious nature better! To be daring yet respectful…

Hopefully both environment can learn from each other and find some sort of balance, it will take years probably….might not even happen…but let’s just keep our fingers crossed.

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