How should our college life be?

Yesterday, in the evening, we two friends, me and Sushanta, were discussing about our college life. He studied +2 (intermediate level) and I’m currently doing my BBA (6th semester at the time of writing this) here in Chitwan.

We were comparing our education level, peers, and the overall academic environment with that of Kathmandu, where I did my A levels and Sushanta took some preparation course after completing his +2. When I decided to study back at Chitwan, my main reason to stay back in my hometown was my health condition. That’s why I never even tried to learn more about further education abroad. Some of my friends encouraged me to be hopeful and try applying at some universities and colleges there but I ignored them without even telling them this reason.

But after having stayed back, I have mixed feelings about the advantages and disadvantages of studying here at my hometown. The advantage is that I have known and understood the social and political environment of this place. Also, I have some knowledge about the psychology of the people here, how they think and decide upon the matters of their life. However, the greatest missing is that I didn’t find the desirable environment, for study and growth, here. Although I acknowledge that it is human nature to not appreciate what we have, I can’t remain fully content with my present situation.

In a nutshell, I am dissatisfied with the curriculum structure itself, the teaching methodologies, here and other constraints that hinder me to progress in my study and career. But let’s keep this for a next post. Being back to the topic, Sushanta and I, were sharing our feelings about college life here at Chitwan. We both were from SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, and we were taught in a much disciplined, peaceful and a beautiful environment. After SLC, I pursued A levels from Trinity International College, Kathmandu, where too, I got a similar environment (I call this a privilege of studying A levels). However, when I came back to Chitwan for Bachelors’ degree, I found a very turbulent environment. Students were neither polite, nor well mannered. On top of that, they are very arrogant, short-tempered, tried to make fun of everything, especially by humiliating others and I found most of them evil-minded given their manners and behaviors at college. These were the impression I had about my friends during the first two semesters. I still remember, boys chewing “Neha” and spitting red in the wall. What was more intolerable to me was that girls also used to have this stuff! This was disgusting to me!

By now, things have changed, and I too have changed. I have understood the activities of my friends as group behavior and most of them are good if we talk them in person. However, the academic environment isn’t much different. Students don’t study and teachers only fulfill their duty as is required by the curriculum and the college due to the lack of cooperation from students. Still, I don’t see my friends coming with an enthusiasm to learn something new!

Sushanta had the similar experience when he did his +2 course in Chitwan (To avoid confusion, he is two batch junior to me.)

After we had shared all these stuffs, Shesh, another friend of mine who is same batch as me, came to join in the conversation. And our discussion took a turn. Sushanta started saying, “We should not blame our college life. The college life is like that everywhere and we should learn to enjoy it however it goes on.” Shesh added, “College life is for fun. You should not expect it to be serious and monotonous like in your school. So, it’s all your fault.” I was thinking to object him when Sushanta came up with another argument, “We should go to college for enjoyment rather than studying. We should have fun in the college and study at home.” This was an exaggeration from him during the moments of heated debate but, he meant it to some extent.

Now, it was enough for me. I was not against having fun at college, but the way they presented their arguments compelled me to reply, “If we go to college just for fun, and not studying then why should we go to college in the first place? Can’t we have fun elsewhere?”

I continued, “If we go to college just for fun, isn’t it the waste of time and money? I rather think that all study stuffs should be done only at college and beyond college we should relax and find time to do other things. A short revision is okay at home, but studying at home is not a good idea. How dare you waste the precious 9 or 10 years of your life in college just by having fun?”.

We had a serious debate for a while. From my arguments, Shesh agreed that indeed studying in college is important. But, what about fun? He had previously said, “You should have the experience of bunking, cheating, mocking the friends, etc.”

I replied, “Fun is different to different people. Some have fun by playing cards, some by watching movies while others have their own way of having fun.”

“How do you have fun?” Shesh asked me as we were about to depart. I replied, “By doing something creative, innovative and accomplishing something significant. I feel satisfied at the end of that day, when I don’t have regrets that I wasted it.”

That brought me back to my senses again. Sushanta, was giving his own theory, trying to settle the matter, that people are different, and why we should be flexible when we are with them. I interrupted him, and said that, we should not go beyond our comfort zones, just to adjust with some crazy people. I regretted that this discussion which we took up so seriously was being just a waste of time. It should have been done by the folks at the Education Ministry. I thought that I need to search for a way to give this discussion, and other serious discussions we held with our friends contextually, a meaning. This article has probably done some justice to it.

Finally, as I pondered why I had this view about college life, I contemplated that I have become a misfit here. But that doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that I have seriously missed something by not going abroad for further study. I could have put these four energetic years of my life into something more productive and more satisfying had I gone abroad. Because I would not need to fall victim of bullying friends, frequent load shedding, unstable and unreliable internet connection, the country’s unpredictable political environment, and many more, I assume that my days would have been more fruitful. At the time of struggling for these basic necessities, I could have already accomplished what I wanted to do.