Rhythm of Summer
The spirit of the whole community’s well-being prevails in flagship public universities, based on what I have experienced at UNC and UCB. The fall semester begins relatively early, and the students scattering everywhere on campus are largely comprised of in-state population, which could be told from their frequent greetings towards others around them, calling out one another’s names or even nicknames without hesitation since they might have been homies for years.
At public universities, the sheer volume of students means a comparatively higher student-faculty ratio. Thus, the scale of classes is larger, and the sports facilities are often crowded with enthusiastic players. However, taking into account the public higher education systems they are in, affordability and mobility are viewed as significant characteristics, which could compensate for their shortcomings. In the classroom, you can always hear someone describing himself or herself as having fought a long way through community colleges to the top universities within the states. There are indeed distinctions among students’ academic or socioeconomic backgrounds, but when everyone is in the same classroom, the distinctions are erased. Students could also enroll in the courses taught by other branches in the systems, meeting with new friends or groups.
For private colleges, the decency of their architecture and horticulture always fascinates me. For instance, famous Sarah P. Duke Gardens opens up for visitors from dusk until dawn. Indigenous or exotic herbs are either exuberant in the wilderness or attended carefully by assiduous gardeners working in the gardens all day long. The symbolic buildings for Trinity College at Duke combines solemnity with the particular pastoralism native in North Carolina, leaving an extraordinarily great impression on me.
Furthermore, students at private colleges enjoy many advantages brought by abundant funding. They enjoy instruction and tutoring with fewer cohorts, having greater space and equipment for recreational purposes, so on and so forth. In addition, they normally share a more exclusive understanding of their identity with honor.
Things I have discussed above are way beneath exhaustive. Based on my personal observation and superficial interpretation, there is still a long way to go before I could draw up a general map of the higher education in the United States, which could help shed some light on the higher education in China.