After reading last week an article on american universities in The Economist, I started wondering what is wrong with higher education in this country? Well, as a recent graduate I have one thing to say about higher education in this country.
I think American college atmosphere over emphasizes the social aspect of life. I am not saying that a college student shouldn't have fun, hell I have had my share of craziness in college. However, some people forget that another important aspect of college life is the education they are getting. So in simple terms we can say that being a college student meant balancing out the two aspects of life. I felt that some students couldn't handle this duality of life as a college student. Hence, people end up having in one extreme a crazy social life or no life at all because the only thing they do is work. Most of my friends where able balance the two aspects of life well, while others I know who couldn't find a balance between the two aspects of college life end up transferring or dropping out. One reason for the imbalance might have been the economic status of the student's family, but that's for another post.
All in all the above mentioned aspect of college life is comparable to that in any other stages of life. However, what do think is a problem is that people push towards the social aspect too much and not the work/educational aspect of college. The media plays a major role in this by offering a view of college as being a party all the time. Can you imagine a Van Wilder film where he graduates in 4 years and has a 4.0 GPA? So when people come to college, many might try to recreate their perceived fantasies about colleges. This in turn leads to a stronger focus on social aspects of life over the hard but necessary educational aspect of college.
For example, some have criticize me for "working too hard" or "not living life". I worked hard in college to get me into a better stage in life than where I came from. Trust me, I don't want to go back to the place where I came from. Sure, I could have partied all the time, but that would not have gotten me into grad school. I genuinely tried to balance the two aspects of college life out and I think I was somewhat successful (I got good grades and had fun) also to a certain point I was able to avoid the the high schoolish drama that cursed my college. I also found it annoying when people suggested me to do something socially and then get pissed when I gave them a legitimate reason why I didn't do what they suggested. For example, I had a couple of time people told to do morally sketchy activities (ie using and abusing a girl) and when I said no they flipped out. In some ways I think they were venting their frustrations of not having a balanced life on me.
All in all I had a good college experience. The post is merely my observations of college life when I was a student.