School Life vs. College Life
There is a great deal of difference between school life and college life. School life is a life of restrictions and control, a life in which the student has to be accountable for his daily work with his teachers and his guardian. But a college student, on the other hand, enjoys a much greater freedom from control and supervision; he is, to a very large extent, the master of his own destiny. It lies with him to make it or mar it.
At school, the students have to be in attendance for fixed hours every day. He has to leave home at ten or eleven and return at four at college, however, the hours of attendance vary. Sometimes, a college student has a hard time in the morning to gulp his food; at others, he has enough time to lounge about for a few minutes after a leisurely meal. On some days he returns early from college; or others, it is late evening by the time he gets back home. He has ample time at his disposal to use, abuse, or misuse.
At school, the student has to prepare his daily lessons and may be taken to task for what he has left undone. But at college, he can do his lessons daily, or not at all, as fancy may please or conscience may dictate. He is left to his own resources; he must understand his difficulties, and find out ways and means to remove them. He must, for the most part, depend upon himself, and take the help of a friend or a teacher only as his means and circumstances permit. In one respect, however, school life is more joyous than college life.
A student can run about and exercise his limbs in school more vigorously than at college. The sight of boys shouting and running down the staircase or the corridors or in the school quadrangle is something that one will seldom find in a college. College boys are either boisterous and rowdy or grave and decorous. They are must behave as grown-up people. Of course, it the college happens to have its playgrounds, they can go there after college hours and take part in regular games. Nowadays every college has a gymnasium to help student s build the ‘body beautiful’. A college, in other words, may not permit uproarious merriment, but it often gives larger opportunities for organized games sports.
Another respect in which school life and college life differ is in the use of the library and the common room. In most of our school libraries seem to be more for show than for use. Books are issued now and ten for use. Books are issued now and then, but such occasions are few and far between. But in most colleges, there are larger opportunities for using the library. One has also greater freedom in the choice of books. As to the common room, that is the exceptional privilege of students; most of our schools do not provide a common-room because boys are in their classes during the whole period of work.
It is natural that these differences between school life and college life should develop different mental and moral qualities. At school, students acquire habits of discipline and regularity. They have to practice obedience and follow instructions. But at college students are expected to develop a sense of responsibility and personal initiative. In other words, what a school student has to do under com-pulsing is done by the college students out of his greater sense of responsibility. Of course, it has to be admitted that college life offers greater scope to a student to go astray. If he takes himself light-heartedly, he will have to suffer. If he allows arrears of studies to accumulate he will pay the price with failure and disgrace. Hence a studious pupil improves more rapidly at college than at school, but a waster comes quicker to grief.
If I am asked to choose between school life and college life, it will not be something very easy. At school, I looked with envy and expectation at my serious and the ample freedom they enjoyed both at home and outside. Now at, the college I look back sometimes to those days when I could ‘feel my life in every limb’ and I was full of laughter add merriment than I can ever be in life. For somehow I have a feeling that the gracious, sun-lit days of gaiety, thoughtlessness, and the care-free pursuit of knowledge will soon be over, and it is not for me anymore to give way to ‘the loud laughter that speaks the vacant mind’. And yet perhaps, in a final view, college life, in spite of its cares and burdens, is the most pleasant and exciting period in one’s life. The sense of freedom, if nothing else, is in itself a tonic and an incentive to higher things.