Thursday, June 26, 2008

Love thy college!

Recently, I happened to pick up a conversation with my best friend regarding our colleges. Having completed 4 years of engineering, this topic came up sometime before our farewell party. We were discussing our college days & how we enjoyed them in our own way. Then came the statement I have heard a thousand times before. In fact I was expecting it. "I just love my college", was the assertion. I laughed a little over the phone, the laughter sounding a little sarcastic. "Don't you love your college, Mihir?", she asked me. I replied in the negative.

The fact is, I can't relate 'love' to a 'commercial activity'. Love is something very pure & heartfelt. In my weirdest dreams I can't imagine love being related to 'college' - something which is a symbol of nothing but commercialization of education. I don't mean to say commercialization of any activity is bad; even education. But once the money factor comes into play, its just another buyer-seller relation. Introducing a factor so close to the heart as 'love' is just unthinkable on my part. Education is sold & we buy it as consumers. When you say "I love my college", are you really referring to the institutional aspect of college? You like your faculty, you like the infrastructure, your colleagues & friends - and that's what sums up into the word - 'college'. But for me, each of these things is a different entity altogether. I wouldn't equate faculty with college, because that's just not the fact. Faculty includes teachers who are individuals in themselves. That's not what a college is. A college is not even the structure of bricks and cement. A college is, plainly speaking, an institution managed by the administration. It includes policy, working for student welfare, cultivating a bond between the student & the institution. And if you are among those who love their college with this definition at hand, you are one of the very lucky people!!

I wasn't that lucky. Graduating has been a great experience for me. I loved every aspect of it, just leave the isolated word 'college' aside...


gauri said...

Yes, obviously everyone is entitled to their particular insight to what definition they choose to give to the word 'college'.. but you have mentioned money here.. just a bit of my point point of view to it..

Like you have said, liking a college might mean liking the faculties, their teaching habits, if it is your passion that you are perusing, ( unlike most nowadays), then liking/loving your college might include the facilities it offers that brings you closer to your passion.. money is required for all of this.. earlier, it was barter.. now it is money..the administration, as u might say, has been making efforts so that its students get the required facilities/infrastructures, it is money that we are paying them for their efforts, as you have rightly said, they are individuals too, they too need money to live their lives, bring up their family, to pay others for the commodities they buy.. repay others' efforts by a convenient passage of money..
Money, isn't bad.. commercialization of money is.. Money is a pure medium.. If politics be mixed with it, then I would change my opinion.. But that, is another aspect altogether.

Asilata said...

Interesting definition Mihir! U will find that a very similar line is taken by GATT/WTO which define higher education as a 'good' and not a service (as opposed to primary edu).

No doubt as u say students are attached to a particular aspect of college life, be it faculty or friends or activities. But beyond these tangible things, there are some indelible memories, learning experiences, connections and most importantly an atmosphere to grow, which make college life what it is. Moreover, these experiences are inseparable from the college itself, u cannot possibly live ur college life anywhere else but in college.

It is a sorry state of affairs indeed, if all one does in college is 'shop' for lessons and 'purchase' the degree! Not only does it sound obnoxious, it is also undesirable if it does come to pass.

The money factor is unavoidable, there's no such thing as a free lunch. But let no one attempt to put a price to memories which are equally connected to the college, even to its structure: its corridors, classrooms, grounds and auditoriums; the list could go on!

For me, the 'college' is not a monument to fee receipts, it is a living breathing evolving entity. Even in a world where the only constant is change, let us be thankful that our educational institution atleast is a permanent reference-point in our lives, as good as a second home.

To relate a personal anecdote, it was only a few days ago that we(my classmates) met up in our college after our graduation results. We met our professors, our juniors, visited our lecture room, roamed around a bit n finally settled in our canteen, feeling at home after the long summer hols. Now if this sense of familiarity, comfort, happiness and gratitude isnt love; then I dont know what is.

mihir mulay said...

@gauri & asilata

Interesting perspectives there, gals...
but still, for me, attachment doesn't come that easy.

But again, thanks for ur take on the topic. Much welcomed and accepted too... :-)

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