S H I T S T U D E N T S “ Taking a moment to reflect on first year at university... Worth it or not?
Freshers, first years and newbies. This is not directly aimed at you, but you are incredibly involved in this. Those first 9/10 months of uni are so easy you might as well not turn up…wait, you laugh and agree but it’s the truth and a lot of you didn’t turn up, I know I didn’t but I’m not bothered about admitting it? However this isn’t the aim of the piece, to nag you and make you feel guilty because it’s not your fault. This piece isn’t to make tutors feel guilty either, they’re pretty awesome, I want to be one at some point. This is a giant kick in the face to the uni bosses. You have a terrible habit of giving innocent (not for long) 18 year olds the impression that first year is a doss. First year is for you to meet people. Get drunk, steal a traffic cone etc. and you may argue but the average pass rate for 1st year is 40%. Less than half the assignments need to be done to pass. I conducted a small experiment and found this: out of 30 students spoken to, the average percentage of first year attended was 4050%. Not one of these students said ‘yes’ when asked if they got in any sort of trouble for this. Also none of them failed, because it’s impossible to. Fair enough, you dudes might love not having to be there, but number one it cost you either £3500, or £9000 now, for that wasted year and number two, monitoring has now begun. Without warning we now have a register that makes sure we turn up else full marks cannot be reached. To most, this seems unfair. It’s not that the students are complaining about doing work and having to go into early morning lectures, because after all, we are at university for a reason, but it’s the fact that no warning is given to just how difficult the transition from ‘hardly any work’ to ‘tons of it’ can be. Personally, I think that first year shouldn’t be so easy. It gives already lazy A-level students an even lazier lifestyle when they get to university. How can they be expected to take their degrees seriously if the tutors don’t emphasise the importance of it first?
out of 30 students spoken to, the average percentage of the first year attended was 40-50%
‘I turned up to a lecture and it was a repeat of what I’d already been told a few weeks ago. They wonder why we don’t turn up?’ I, for one, didn’t turn up a lot last year, purely because of one reason. I didn’t have to. You might argue and say that ‘actually, you do need to turn up to uni else you get kicked off’, but that is certainly not the case at all. Tons of new 18 year olds pile into the first year of university, don’t know a lot, excited at everything; it’s easy to believe that not showing up to classes will get you thrown off the course, but I know for a fact that me and my housemate last year didn’t turn up to at least 60% of university and still managed to pass. Might not have been a good pass, but it’s still a pass and that’s all that mattered to us.
And it wasn’t just me and one other student out of the whole of Leeds that skipped uni. Tons of people did it. Every day. Typical conversation in my flat consisted of: ‘Can’t go into uni on Monday cos ‘Carnage’ is on this Sunday and I really wanted to go this time. Can’t go uni Tuesday cos it’s quids in at Halo Monday night. Can’t go in Wednesday cos I’ll be hungover.’ Etc etc. This is not a complaint, it’s a proposition to the course leaders/ tutors/ whoever gives a shit that maybe they could make us come in more than once a month? Maybe force us to attend 70% of it else we WILL be thrown off the course. It just seems ridiculous that we’d pay £3,500 (or more depending on when you started…sorry) to be given crap assignments, tutors who aren’t so bothered if you turn up or not and the same amount of motivation as a snail competing in a sprint. I know some students love the fact that first year is a doss, as did I, but when you get to second year and life gets ‘real’ you start to wonder if you could have done more with that year. More than get around and be rarely sober. For example, first year is a good time to join clubs, get a job, volunteer somewhere, do stuff that you need time for because second year leaves you with not much time at all. I spoke to Carl Laverick, a student who is currently doing first year again but on a different course this time round, he found that he is in the same situation as last year: ‘I’ve hardly turned up this semester, like last year, but no one’s said anything to me. I had a few warning emails telling me I’d fail if I missed the next lecture, but I turned up to it and it was a repeat of what I’ve already been told a few weeks ago. They wonder why we don’t turn up?’ On a personal level I found this to apply to my first year too. It seems that the beginning 12 months of university teach us almost nothing about a new way of learning but more about socialising and getting to know the best bars in town. Saying this, a monitoring system has been put in place to ensure we attend classes, however, I’ve seen many a fellow class member sign the register and then bugger off to do something much more interesting… Most of you will agree, some won’t, but I’m just grateful that you took the time to hear my thoughts on all of this. Maybe I’m just being a moany bint but I don’t think universities should let us slack off so much. Rant over.
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Next month - ‘Hipsters, when will it end?’
Published on Dec 2, 2012