Friday, 10 December 2010

Anarchy for Dummies

Yeah, so I haven't been around much since my 100th post!  How are you all?

UK readers keeping warm (I don't actually think I have any overseas readers - feel free to correct me on that though!)

I've been a bit inspired to blog this morning because of the student protests.  I work at a university, I should state that for the record.  It might be easy for me to say because after all, I've done my degree, but really, do the students think that wrecking buildings and attacking Prince Charles in his car is going to get them anywhere?

It's like they've been reading Anarchy for Dummies for heavens' sake.

I'm a bit fed up of it.  All it's done is cost the taxpayer loads of money in policing and clean up costs (and we all know how the taxpayer likes to complain about the students!)

I get it, you don't want to pay up to £9,000 a year for your education, I can understand your beef with that.  But maybe it'll make you work harder.  And it's not like they want you to cough the money up front!  Okay, so it's another £50 or whatever coming out of your paypacket a month (on top of Tax, NI and Student Loan contributions) but really, grow up, it's called being an adult.  There's no such thing as a free lunch.

American students have to pay a lot for their education, which is why American students take College a bit more seriously than we do over here.  We live in a benefit society, a lot of people in this country expect to get life handed to them on a plate.  What happened to some of the old fashioned hard work that this country was built on?!

I went to uni, because it was what everyone else was doing.  I did Photography, because frankly I was shit at school, I'm highly intelligent, but when you're 17, suffering from depression and you've passed your driving test and have a mini sitting outside, you're hardly going to go to school are you?  Well, at least, I didn't.  I showed up for Media and Photography and spent the rest of the time driving around in the mini. 

So, by the time it came to the big, What to do after school, question, I assumed I had to go to uni.  It didn't occur to me that I could've just gone and got a job - saved myself and my parents some (a lot of) money and probably still end up where I am today.  It hasn't made a blind bit of difference.

So I think instead of all this, 'inclusive' bollocks, and yes, very nice, great idea, lovely, lets get the kids off the streets, off the council estates and into university, it's just pointless.  I think we need to look more at better work based training for people.  If I had thought about it, I should've gone and got a job in a photographer's studio, I should have trained as a photographer on the job - what the heck does a degree in photography teach you?!  For me, nothing, it wasn't a great course that I chose.

I probably sound like an elitist snob or a Daily Mail 'journalist' but really, I look at the kids at this uni and I just think, why are you bothering?  We don't seem to care that a lot of the students here are failing, they seem to contstantly get through by the skin of their teeth.

So what if some of the universities close.  They were probably crap uni's anyway.  They say, A degree is a degree.  Well no, it's not.  The rate of graduates receiving Firsts and 2:1's has increased in recent years - and when recruiters get 100 applications and they all have 2:1's, they naturally start to look at where the degree was earnt - a 2:1 from St. Andrews is not the same as a 2:1 from De Montfort (where I studied).

Like I say, inclusiveness is a lovely idea, but I just don't think it's practicable.  Fuck it, it's survival of the fittest.  That's life.  That's human nature.  That's evolution.  I'm at the bottom of the food chain as far as I'm concerned and I have a degree.  I'm the only one in my team of admin colleagues who has a degree.  Apparently I should therefore earn more than them, have more responsibility or something?  Why does everyone think a degree is the be-all and end-all?

I think work based learning, apprenticeships etc, like the olden days, would benefit more people than university.

I'm a mother, I have a daughter who will be 3 next March.  If she decides to go to uni, she will be affected by these changes - so should I be out there protesting on her behalf?  No, when the time comes, I'll just help her to make the right decision.  If she wants to go to uni, to do a course of worth (Pharmacy, Nursing, Computing etc) then fair enough.  But equally if she's not 100% sure, or doesn't have a career idea at 18, I'd rather pay for her to travel, learn about the world, and not rack up debts that she can't afford to pay (like her dear old mum...!) 

I'm 25, I have a degree in photography, £15,000 of debt, plus £12,000 in a student loan, and I have no idea what I want to do with my life. 

Lets face it, majority of students, and I really wholeheartedly include myself in this bracket, go to university for a good time.  Okay, so I had to endure depression for the first two years, but eventually I learnt how to have a good time, and a good time I had as my credit card bill will testify, I wonder how many times Soar Point, Po Na Na or the O Bar feature?!  It meant I had to pull a fucking miracle out of my arse in the final year and scraped through with a 2:1. 

To this day I feel guilty - my sister also studied photography, at a better university I might add, and she worked her socks off, but only got a 2:2.  I think there's some kind of point in there, I've run out of tea and I'm struggling to find it...!

So, I'm not sure what my point is, mostly I think it was just to say that I think the students need to work it out a bit, stop being so violent, they're giving themselves a bad name.  I'm sure is the few spoiling it for the many, and I probably sound rather Daily Mail, but on the whole, I don't see where it's going to get them.

*sits back and waits for the contradictions and attacks to roll in, promising herself not to take it personally.*


  1. ahem! I am an overseas reader!

    I do agree with you, it is weird though. And whilst the right to education is a fundamental human right, which is why basic schooling is free, we have to pay for everything else, so why shouldn't we pay for higher education? Maybe if they made the means testing a bit harder and the prices a bit clearer and spelled out the other options available, and stopped acting like a university degree was the do all and end of your life, then maybe people might take it a bit more seriously. I don't know ONE person that didn't slack off for part of their time at university. I wasn't even sure that I wanted to go. I only went because my parents never had the chance, and they wanted me to go. So I did, and I pissed it up the wall and didn't make the most of it either. I know for a lot of people it is a chance to better themselves and to move into a career that they need the degree for, but really c'mon. Let's look at some of the degrees available out there... and then ask if its fair that students be subsidised for taking a ridiculous course, so they can basically watch Trisha for 3 years (is Trisha still on?)

    The whole system needs fixing and people need to really be honest about the jobs out there nowadays and the relevance of the majority of courses out there. I think this is all partly a throwback from the "all inclusive schooling' so now we have a bunch of stupid courses, for stupid people. Backlash in five... four... three... two... one...

  2. You are totally right, glad you agree and I'm not the only one. I mean photography, really, at what point did they decide to offer that as a degree? It's a degree for dossers - I learnt nothing, I would have been 1million percent better off going straight to an assistant role in a studio or elsewhere.

    Oh and I think these days the kids watch Jeremy Kyle and Bargain Hunt.... Especially seeing as Countdown isn't the same since Richard Whitely died...


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