Why is it that we go to university? Is it to gain an academic achievement? Is it to further our minds and delve into the world of independent learning? Or is it to get a cheap few years away from home, get drunk on a daily basis and pull as many members of the opposite sex that we possible can? For many I fear it’s the latter. Being a smelly, poor student myself I have realised that a lot of my peers here at university didn’t come for their degree at all. In these tough financial times university has become the only chance we have to move out for a few years before grovelling back home to Mom and Dad’s house, to save for a house deposit until we’re no doubt about 93. Gaining those savings most likely from a job that’s got absolutely nothing to do with our degree. For example, I know a girl who has a high level degree in phycology that now works as a buyer for a big supermarket (the yellow one). Now don’t get me wrong, it is an achievement to gain such a position straight out of university – but what has it got to do with psychology? Unless all those poor apples and loaves of bread need counselling, I really can’t understand how graduate jobs can have nothing to do with the chosen subject you spent 3 years painfully studying hungover in a library somewhere.
Another massive draw to that lovely UCAS website is the notion that you may never even have to pay all of your loan back. Now it’s a very dangerous thing to open teenager’s minds to the notion of free money, and no doubt pushes more people to the lovely land of higher education. I have been lucky enough to experience the relatively new world of £9,000 a year tuition fees. As I’m sure you can understand this leaves me a little miffed. My sister who is 2 years older than me narrowly escaped these and so has paid £3,000 a year for her degree, so tell me how that’s fair? We live in the same house. We have the same parents. Yet I’m expected to pay triple because I happened to be conceived a little too late in the 90s? If it wasn’t for the reassurance that I will only pay as much of this back as I can afford then I wouldn’t have been able to come to university. So what would I be doing now? Trying to get a job no doubt in an economy where there are little to go around. We are in danger of creating an elitist world of education where only snotty, well-to-do folk can venture to university which doesn’t seem fair at all to me. Why should our doctors, teachers, journalists of the future be the lucky rich ones? Labour has apparently said they intend to reduce university fees if they are voted in at the next election. But in my short life I have learnt the main thing about politics: they will lie to you to get what they want. Much like men at bars if you’re looking for a good comparison. Even if fees were reduced I doubt very much those in university currently (my very good self-included) would have their fees dropped also, only adding to young people’s frustration at politics.
Something else that baffles me about university is the extremely random degrees that keep popping up. An excellent example of this is my friend who is studying ‘contour fashion’. Now this may sound very high brow and mystical to the average person, as it did to me. These feelings are shattered however when you learn what it actually is…making bras. Yes, my friend is doing a BA in bras. Now to give her credit she’s not only making the bras, but designing the bras, writing about the bras and I even saw her put a survey on Facebook asking questions about bras (and yes, I may have accidently filled it in). But what I can’t understand is how she has been almost tricked into paying around £30,000 for a piece of paper telling the world how good she is at dressing boobs. This is another example of how desperate teenagers are to have the ‘uni experience’ and shows how they will study the most random subjects in order to do so. I mean no offence of course to my friend or her class mates, but it’s hard for me to get how a degree in making bras will get you very far when a degree in psychology only gets you to the corporate world of that yellow supermarket.
So what happened to the poor folk who don’t venture to university? I’m lucky enough to have a twin brother who is the complete opposite to me. He climbed trees, I fell out of them. He rode his bike, I fell off mine. He earns £100s of pounds at a time as a builder, I’m only 20 and already owe more money than I’ve ever had. This really proves to me that the only thing that matters is that you’re doing what makes you happy. It just sucks that what makes me happy is costing me £9,000 a year but never the less, at least I’m here and I’m enjoying it. But if you’d rather build walls, paint nails, skip around your house to Shirley Bassey all day for all I care then do it! All I say is that if you do decide to go to university, make sure it’s doing something that you love. Something that you’d happily do all day every day for the rest of your life. And something worth the money you’ll be pretending to spend on it.