A New Stance: The Difference Between University and College

In my post last week, I mentioned some differences I noticed in my university experience as compared to my college experience. But I spoke too soon: I had yet to experience the true differences.

First and foremost, Carleton dwarfs the Humber Lakeshore campus—probably the North Campus too. And the Carleton campus is constantly buzzing with activity. The change from my comparatively small former school to this behemoth was a bit of a shock at first. There’s almost nowhere to sit, human traffic has to be accounted into travel time and, like Superman, the student body can bring a moving car to a halt. At times I miss my quiet lakeside campus, but the constant activity all around me at Carleton helps to bring the whole “collegiate” feeling to an altogether “un-collegiate” locale.

The next difference (which I know will slowly drive me insane) is the amount of reading I have to do for my various classes. At Humber, lessons were extremely hands-on. I’d go to class, learn new concepts and then return to the practice modules to solidify them. I don’t even think I read 100 pages in my English elective. While I was in college, I would hear my friends back home gripe and complain about having to do a ton of reading, but I never gave it much notice. Now I feel their pain, and nearly doubly so. The minimum reading load for each class (not including my German course—ja, Deutsch!) requires me to get through at least 30-40 pages of a text book. Throw in a crazy history professor who likes to nearly double or triple that and the addition of The Globe and Mail/the Ottawa Citizen/any major Canadian newspaper, and I’m looking at reading until my eyes bleed black on white (and read all over. Haha.).

While college had me studying something I loved, it didn’t leave me very much opportunity to study anything else. I was fortunate enough to take that course on Critical Writing in Popular Culture, which gave me the insight to re-evaluate my educational path. At university I have a considerable amount of freedom in my course selection. Other than the fact that I’m obliged to take an Introduction to Canadian History course (which probably explains my bitter view of the course in general) as well as a language course other than English (sprechen sie Deutsch?) I had total control over my timetable, allowing me to explore multiple areas of interest outside my major. This is a wonderful difference, should history repeat itself (Maybe it’s a good thing I’m taking history actually…).

Anyway, I could go on and on for pages about the differences between college and university, but I have to go read about the Jesuits or something like that. Fun stuff, eh?

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