3 Reasons Why Blue Jeans and Brick Buildings Are Beating Out Bowties and Ivory Towers
I was just reading this article about how many Canadian students are now switching from university degrees to college diplomas as the most sought-after post-secondary education qualification, and I must say, I was caught up in the argument. Once again, as many of you know, I am a university graduate and I now work at a private college, so I would certainly say that I have somewhat of a vested interest in the debate.
After reading the article and pondering (yes, I said “pondering” – I love that word) each reason, I came to 3 conclusions as to why I think colleges are beating out universities when it comes to admissions:
1) College campuses are smaller: As a freshman, I had a bit of difficulty finding my classes. My campus was so large that just to walk from one building to the next seemed to take, at bare minimum, 20 minutes or so. Therefore, if you have a class at 2:30pm and another class at 3:00pm, you had to high-tail it to the building. Once you finally made it there (usually about 15 minutes or so late), the professor was already in the midst of his/her lecture and the class was deep in debate about the colour of socks on The Wife of Bath in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (or whatever). I had to slunk down in my chair and pretend that I wasn’t gasping for breath from my 20 minute jog to class, while even though sweat was pouring down my face and I was the colour of a fire engine. Yeah, because that’s what I normally look like – wheezing, panting for breath, and so hot that my eyeballs were sweating. Perfectly normal.
College campuses just never seem to be so big that you nearly die just trying to get to class. I’m sure that there are some out there, but the ones that I’ve encountered have never been as big as my alma mater. (You can read more about my unfortunate experiences trying to navigate my way through my university during my freshman year here). This may seem like a ridiculous reason to want to choose a college over a university, but if you’ve ever had to run across your campus like a madman to get to your next class, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Don’t judge me.
2) Colleges don’t offer “filler” courses: Perhaps the most irritating thing about a traditional university are the completely useless classes that you can take in order to fulfill the requirements of your degree. Two of the most useless classes that I opted to take were Film Studies and Criminal Behaviour.
The first had me sitting for 2 hours once a week in an “academic movie theater”, in which we would watch Charlie Chaplin twirl his cane and make surprised face all the time, or those old films where the bad guy was always dressed in black and tied some random woman to a railway track (those really do exist), or films with Antonio Banderas before he was actually famous. We would then meet again for another 3 hours each week to discuss film quality, acting styles, mirror placement within the film (it’s supposed to be artistic), and even whatever happened to Baby Jane.
The second class had me studying the minds of criminals; it was disturbing and made me distrust everyone around me. Once you delve into the psychology of a sociopath, you can’t help but look for similar signs of that behaviour in all of your friends and family – Hmm…why are you really taking that cookie from the cookie jar, little Timmy? To me, that seems to exhibit classic signs of a future serial theif. We better get you into counselling, pronto.
Don’t get me wrong, these classes were interesting, but they added absolutely no value to my degree. These were just filler courses that I had to take in order to be “well-rounded” in my educational pursuit, and have not helped me one bit in life (except when I watch melodramatic movies from the 20’s with my friends and can explain why they used cheesecloth to shoot the film – oh, wait…that never happens).
Colleges just give you the classes you need to learn the skills, and get the job. Huh…what a concept, eh?
3) Colleges are just slightly more down to Earth, no? : Have you ever noticed that universities are always aiming to impress? The buildings must be grandiose and a thing of wonder, whilst the classes must evoke deep thought and academic debate. Once again, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for intelligent discussion, but sometimes it can be taken a little too far. While completing the necessary classes in order to earn my degree, I was more than a little annoyed with one of my professors. She, of course, was an intelligent woman, but I think that she felt the need to prove it to us over and over again…to the point that I began to think quite the opposite. For some reason, she loved the word “pedagogy” and used it in almost every sentence. Obviously, “pedagogy” is not a word used in every day conversation, so I believe she felt quite proud to be able to use it in her lectures…every time. In fact, she said it 372 times in one month – I know. I counted.
College professors/instructors don’t need to impress anyone with fancy words*. They are there to make sure that you understand the material, and to help you through it.
*Side note: “Pedagogy” is no longer a fancy word to me. In fact, it is one of the most annoying words on the planet, I think. Can’t imagine why I feel that way…
So, I’m sure that there are many of you out there debating which institution you may life to attend in order to pursue your education. All I ask is that you weigh your options carefully, and decide what you really want to get out of your degree/diploma before you enroll, and ensure that the school is right for you. Not only do most colleges offer a wonderful and intimate learning environment, they also want to ensure that you are employed after graduation. That reason alone may be the reason why most Canadian students are preferring to go to college rather than a traditional university.
I’d like to leave you with a quotation from the president of the University of Toronto, David Naylor, in which he states: “The view that graduates in the arts or humanities are somehow fiddling away for four years is regressive. It’s a classic trap in logic that people fall into when they imagine that every university degree has to have some employability prospect”.
Because Heaven forbid that you go to school for 4 years and expect to get a job once you graduate…
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Tags: classes, College, courses, criminal, David Naylor, Education, films, ivory towers, professor, school, Univeristy, University of Toronto