American system flows, works better

posted in: Opinion | 0

The actions of being in college generally includes, pulling all nighters in the library, experiencing more stress than you ever thought was possible to feel while desperately staring at blank pages on computer screens hoping words will appear by themselves.

Then finally, you have reached that point where you get to graduate and walk out into the real world, to get a job and deal with debt and other fun perks that a degree entails. But let’s not talk about them just yet!

Although the feeling of being in college is the same wherever you go, the actual system is a lot different. In England, a typical course lasts three years and you choose what you want to graduate in from the start. However, the first year does not actually count toward your final grade.

Which sounds great, right? Well not necessarily. First year is supposedly the easiest, where students potentially get their best grades. To have all those efforts go to waste and not count, is kind of annoying. Not to mention, the amount you pay to be there in the first place. You are basically paying for nothing.

First year in the United Kingdom is meant to be a ‘practice’ year, to help you adjust to living away from home and adapt to the change in workload from school. Which in theory would be a good idea, except as I mentioned in my last piece most students in England just take that as an excuse to not turn up to lectures and get drunk every night, which does not benefit their bank accounts or livers.

Then there is choosing what you want to graduate in from the start. Making a decision like that at the age of 18 is a little intense and leads a lot of people to make the wrong choice or to struggle with choosing between more than one option. The American system, where the first two years are made up of a mix of classes from different subjects then choosing what you want to major in when you reach third year, seems a better way of getting you to adjust to college routines.

Not only that but being able to test out which subjects you prefer sounds like a much better way to get a foundational level understanding of higher education, than to say the first year does not count.

Of course I have not actually gone through the American system completely, so I do not know exactly how good or bad it is first-hand, but what I do know, is that college is stressful enough as it is.

Whichever country you are from, the leap from school to a place where essentially you begin planning the rest of your life is scary. But it helps if there is a system that allows you to adjust to the change. I have to say, America you got this one right!


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