Thursday, 5 November 2009
Oooh, it makes me mad!
This is a rant. I am not apologising for it, but I do think it fair to warn you....
So, this weekend Ben (the Piscatorial Pianist (check out his blog if you haven't already)) and I went to Newcastle to see off our friends Stu and Sam as they embark on their 6 month trip to Cuba. A good time was had by all..........blah blah blah.
Anyway, on the way back I was listening to Radio 1 on the long journey from Newcastle to London stuck in a two hour traffic jam at the Chiswick roundabout and lots of people were calling in talking about the week they were having, fulfilling some need to broadcast into our homes what kind of sandwhiches they were enjoying today (?!?!) when one girl rang up and said she was on reading week and she was enjoying having a chance to relax because she'd been working so hard over the first part of her third year so far.
Fantastic I thought, how lovely that she's been working so hard. And what a positive message! 'What kind of things have you been doing to make you so busy?' enquired a tepidly interested host. 'Well.............'
'I was on freshers team and I had to look after all the first year students. That meant going out and getting drunk every night for a week which is really hard work'
'God yeah' replied the presenter.
'Then I have been doing a promotion in our local students union where I had to sit in a hot tub in a bikini whilst people came in and joined me and had pictures taken. My skin was all wrinkly and the bikini was really chaffing'
'Terrible!' replied the presenter with growing enthusiasm.
'Then I slept in last week and missed the first 3 HOURS of my lecture because I was so tired from all the work and so I have missed loads of notes and things. And the lecturers haven't put the notes on the e-learning website for me to look at. How am I supposed to learn?'
The presenter suddenly burst into action; 'That is so unfair. It's like they don't understand how much work you've been doing.'
'I know. Now I have to catch up on all the work I've missed because I've been so busy at work during reading week. Rather than chillaxing (?!?!?) with my friends.'
'Oh no. That sucks.' said the presenter in a sympathetic voice.'And where are you now?'
'In the PUB'!!!!!!!
OK. I'm going to sound old now. I know, and I admit that whole-heartedly. But am I the only person who finds this completely appalling. I know how important it is to have fun at uni (I was there not too long ago myself and had a great time) but there is a fine line. Students must be able to organise their priorities and understand that lecturers are not here to work around you, but work with you to help you learn. Whether you pass or not is another matter, and one which is solely your responsibility.
And, responsibility is key. Who is responsible for their own education? Does this change depending on where you are or what level of education you're in? Time after time I see students who struggle with the responsibility University life comes with. Not having looked after themselves before, not having been treated like an 'adult' before in an Educational setting. And this is not entirely their fault, of course not. They can't be expected to know what goes into being responsible for their own actions if they've never been ALLOWED to do it before.
However, in the case of this girl above, she seems to have her priorities all wrong. Going to university is an EDUCATION. It is about growing up, it is about a 'coming of age', but more importantly it's about being given an opportunity to learn, to better yourself and to be in charge of your own time. It is a huge honour and I hope there aren't too many students out there wasting it.
Finally on the radio show, listened to by millions of listeners, students, or teenagers about to embark on a degree or higher education course, the presenter said; 'No-body bothers reading in reading week anyway. It's just an opportunity to bunk off anyway, isn't it?'.
I give up.