Graduation is supposed to be an important milestone in one’s life. It is an event that marks our transition from a student to an expert, or a professional. It is also indicative of the fact that it is time to get our lives together, and think long term, and make decisions that are probably going to affect us for the rest of our lives. However, it also makes us reflect on how the journey has been so far. Being the receiver of a silky-satin cap myself recently, I found myself visiting the last graduation I was a part of, that is, the time I graduated from school. A trivial thought otherwise, I casually asked my friends, which graduation they think was better, and was pleasantly surprised to find the polarity of opinions. I couldn’t help but think which of the two journeys we take as a student, the school or the college is more important? Here’s my take on the same.
1. People’s Skills: Even though we learn to communicate, interact and socialise in different stages of our school life, these skills are really put to test when we go to college, because clearly distributing chocolates on your birthday doesn’t fetch you friends when you are 20. Additionally, in school, we are naive, but in a positive sense, i.e. the world and its structure and stereotypes haven’t fully manifested themselves, so it is easier for us to exist in a group as opposed to college, wherein everyone has a label. So we might learn soft skills in school, but their practical application only begins in college.
Score: 1 all
2. Stress Levels: The paradox is that a system wherein the classes are mandatory, the studies regular, and exams frequently is infinitely more stressful than a system which has irregular classes, and one-night battles with exams. Think back to your board exams, and count the number of nights, days and everything in between you spent, worrying about them. Remember the things teachers and family said, and the kind of pressure you had to get good marks. Now cut to college. I am sure you get the idea.
Score: College-2 School-1
3. Sports and ECA: Equally surprising is the fact that in school, where sports and ECA are considered distractions, they actually become the saving grace of many students in college. Not only do many students secure admission based on their achievements outside of the marksheet, but also get attendance for participating in ECA activities.
Score: College-3 School-1
4. Rules and Regulations: Rules are enforced upon in schools, and penalties on late submissions, are frequent, as opposed to college, where it is assumed that the students would be responsble enough to follow the rules (key word:assumed). Though it would be safe to assume that neither of the two actually help a person become punctual. Nonetheless, I have seen ample examples to conclude that college students do not fulfill their responsibility, and worse do not even realise it. So yes the school system might be coercive, but it works better, in my opinion.
Score: College-3 School-2
5. Information and Knowledge: Commenting on this is tricky. Yes, we learn the basics in school, and we are supposed to learn the nuanced stuff in college (again key word: supposed). Academically, I think both the institutes fail us, as information is thrown at us, regardless of a. Whether we are interested, b. Whether it is really helpful.
However, one cannot deny the importance of the basic knowledge of math, science and history we get in school, whereas the basic understanding of the world, and how it works, economically, politically and socially, and the issues that exist, is something we learn in college, regardless of what we study. Both are equally indispensable in my opinion.
Score: College-4 School-3
6. Class Structure and Assignments: Classes remain indifferent, (read: dull and boring) though a lot depends on the person teaching the subject. The only relief in college is that you can always choose to skip them. That being said, I personally prefer the college system wherein it’s up to you to read and understand the assigned material and lectures and assignments. School was more inclusive in this regard. Assignments and homework remain unchanged, done at the last minute and of sub-quality.
Score: College-4 School -3
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7. The Want to Continue: Personally, I remember that I couldn’t wait to get out of school, and begin college. But I think I can safely say for everyone who is graduating this year, the last thing they want is for college to end. The reasons will vary of course, from friends, to societies to the carefree lifestyle. For me, I don’t want the stability of it to end. I want the flexible schedules, lack of supervision, and absence of deadlines to continue, which will all disappear if I work or study further.
Score: College-5 School-3
So there we have it, a winner. College is a learning environment where an attempt is made to help us better our understanding of the world and of the self and gain practical knowledge to put to use. School on the other hand lays the foundation for this to happen. This conclusion is not trying to discredit the institution of school, but merely saying that viewed separately college life equips us better to deal with the world than school life.