They had it comin’

They only had themselves to blame
If you’d’ve been there
If you’d’ve seen it
I think that you would have done the same..

Okay, enough of the Chicago Soundtrack.

It is very easy for me to position myself with the students and to recognise their anger towards the Tories; after all, I was one not long ago. It seems to me that the students are fighting their own corner, dismissed by elders and unappreciated for what they will provide to our society in the future.


'The Guardian' - A student dressed in bank notes before the start of the protest march in London.

Those who opted out of university appear to have taken the higher ground and are disgusted with the violence from the minority of protesters. They chime ‘university isn’t the be all and end all’, ‘I worked my way up and now I manage graduates’, ‘what’s the point of non-qualifying degrees anyway’. The argument is not whether university is a necessity, whether a particular degree is worthy of honours, nor is it a comparison to progression through work. It is that the opportunity is being robbed from the poor; people who once wanted to take this route are having second thoughts. It should not be that only the middle-classes and the rich can aspire to be doctors, teachers, lawyers, everyone has the potential to be whoever they want to be. Yet no matter how hard one works, without a degree professional jobs are limited to the ones who can afford to take out a second mortgage.

If the future means students will only study professional degrees, thus leading to professional jobs and hopefully earning a higher income; what will happen to teachers, midwives and nurses? We all know these professions are poorly paid and overworked. The banker who is to blame for the economic crisis pockets all his hard-earned cash, whilst a midwife who is working night shifts trying to pay off her tuition fees and her mortgage is left penniless.

‘According to analysis by Institute for Fiscal Studies and the National Union of Students, the total cost of repayment for those earning £35,000-£40,000 per annum would be £37,800, assuming a 30-year repayment period. For those earning £100,000, the cost would be £31,849, based on a repayment period of only four years.’ (Target Courses)

Yes we want professionals who look after us, fight our court cases and whatnot. Yes we also want labourers who fix our pipes, heat our houses and sweep our streets. On top of that, we want social mobility and justice for those earning average annual salaries in a career they enjoy, which they probably acquired from their ‘mickey mouse’ degree.

By ‘we’ I am speaking in reference to society. We should be fuelled by aspiration, not greed.


Those who can.

September 24th; this means we are only a few weeks away from reaching the end of our recruitment cycle for the academic year 2010-2011. For those who decide last minute they want to come to university, it is a mad dash to find the information to start the course they are already late for and to find somewhere they can call home. It would be very interesting to know the reasons behind the applications; whether an applicant genuinely wants to study the course of their choice, or whether it is to postpone working life. Either way, a willingness to learn is never a bad thing.

I grew up with the desire to go to university and often find it difficult to understand when others do not have the same inclination. I do understand those who seek to work in a field they enjoy, in whatever industry. But for those who spend years in hope that life will some day throw something at them, and for now they will just wait for it, I cannot comprehend. Some would argue, studying a degree that does not lead you directly into a specific role is ultimately a waste of time; and it is for the minority who cannot successfully pass that degree. For the majority though, it gives you a trump card that says on paper, you are better than someone who does not have a degree. Thus, having the ability to obtain better jobs.

It is known that a degree is not necessary for many job roles, yet recruitment agencies and employers ask for one. I see getting a degree as a natural stepping stone and it is essential for employers to ask for one to enable them to vet their staff. I know I most probably would not have got my current job now without my degree.

Doesn’t the saying go: those who can, do; those who can’t, teach work in retail.