Clarifications about my college life

My last blog entry caused a little more outcry with a couple people than I think was necessary, so I thought I’d clarify something.

I’m not unhappy at Hislop College.

Of course it’s impossible for me to make assumptions about all schools in India – I’ve spent 99 percent of my time in two cities. I don’t yet know enough about all the schools in India, all the schools in Maharashtra, or all the schools in Nagpur.

My secondhand knowledge of Indian schools exceeds my firsthand knowledge. Firsthand, I’ve only seen Hislop College, the school where the Independence Day celebration was held, and the school where we have our tabla and dance classes. Other Rotary students and area kids have told me about the schools in Nagpur, but I’ve only read books that talk about schools elsewhere in India.

Schools vary everywhere, though. Anyone from Champaign-Urbana could tell you there’s contrast between my old high school and Urbana’s other high school. Michigan Tech is a much different college than Massuchusetts Institute of Technology. I’d appreciate the feedback of anyone who knows more about schools in India – and how they vary.

Given what I know, then, I feel I may have misled people in two ways: 1) as far as I know, Hislop College is not actually that different from other schools in India, and 2) I do not feel uncomfortable there.

True, there’s no air-conditioning and no Powerpoint presentations. At most Indian schools, teachers are more likely to be truant than in America. Pens – rather than pencils – are the norm, as are notebooks with covers that seem to be chosen by American third-graders.

But the teachers aren’t necessarily “bad”. They can be quite passionate about what they say. Whereas some teachers get to class five minutes late and leave ten minutes early, our sociology teacher kept us ten minutes after class on Thursday to talk about the difference in stigmas between graduating from arts, commerce and science colleges in India.

In English, mostly.

The people aren’t all bad, either. I’ve become good friends with many of the kids who always go to class – the people who aren’t just interested in me because I’m American. In the hallways, the others don’t give me trouble, just attention, and even that’s beginning to wane as I become a more familiar face. Since I’m a regular in the classroom, it’s become a comfortable place.

As for now, I’ve got a three-day weekend to deal with. More on that later.


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2 Responses to “Clarifications about my college life”

  1. Dawn Says:


    I finally signed up for your blog–mom has been forwarding me some of your posts–we think you are such a great writer : )

    Looking forward to hearing more about your experiences in such a colorful place!

    Love, Dawn

  2. Abby Says:

    Hey Chris,

    My college experience when I was in Spain was similar. We had power all the time, but teachers would show up late, if at all, and just get up in front of the class and talk. While I absolutely loved Spain and my time there, I’m glad I was able to return to the States for the rest of my college education.

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