There may come a point in Universities across the country where students say “hang on a minute, I’m paying £9,000 to be told I have to sit an exam at 9am to pass my degree?” That’s the problem with having some of the highest tuition fees in Europe. Personally, I can’t draw a clear distinction as to where the money I pay each year actually goes. I don’t use much of the University’s facilities, however I am sure that it funds (besides the extortionate salaries of senior staff) many commercial opportunities and the bloated students’ union.
The reason I am equating disproportionately high fees with “fragile, lazy students” as the title says, is because when the student’s don’t like something, the University’s hands are becoming increasingly tied with how they can respond. The higher tuition fees get, the more the University must hand over student matters to the Students’ Union. An organisation which does not have the best interests of students at heart, because it’s run by them.
Universities have an unhealthy bias, mostly perpetuated by liberal, left wing professors and staff who hold workshops on how to counter right wing students in the classroom. However, more so in this case by the SU, which is shockingly unrepresentative if you happen to disagree with them. Never have I been more convinced, since actually becoming a student and giving up my full-time leadership role in retail, that Universities actually do the opposite of preparing students for life ‘on the outside’. It’s thanks to the chaotic nature of decisions made by a body which acts on the whims of students as opposed to any tradition, discipline and structure that often the academic side of attending University is lost in favour of an overly social and relaxed atmosphere.
Last week I read an article that suggested lectures should start after 11am, as students felt before that time they were not able to completely take in what was being taught. The article also wrote about how students deserved to sleep in during the mornings so they can stay up later to manage deadlines better. Now if that wasn’t a ploy to stay out drinking all night and roll into an 11am lecture the following day hanging out your arse, I don’t know what is.
The problem with this idea, supported by lazy students, is that evidence shows working late into the night and sleeping in does the opposite for your health. It’s a habit committed by someone who has no self-discipline. Working in the real world has taught me this. My personal time, when I can truly meet deadlines and get stuff done, is in the early hours of 5-6am. I never work past 6pm because then I relax, I have 15 minute breaks every hour throughout the day and I am happier for it. Like many people, I had a habit of late nights and late rises (or even worse, early rises) but it’s a bad one, because you never get a break, unless you cut your day short. It’s a vicious circle, once it’s broken things are easier to manage and you’ll find you take in information better too. If you wake at 5am and your lecture isn’t until 9am, that’s 4 hours you have to prepare, wake up and even relax with a coffee. Waking up at 10am to make an 11am lecture is not constructive, it’s lazy.
Instead of enforcing some mental discipline, Universities seem set on changing the days schedule so it caters around lazy, fragile students. With only 12 hours of tuition a week at University, say 6 lectures, 6 tutorials over 5 days, there is really not much in the way of commitment and attendance, I’m still told that the pressure is too much for some. I’m thinking to myself, if you can’t make the time pressure here, you really won’t make it anywhere else!
Students get it incredibly easy, Universities could not be making it easier and more relaxed in terms of deadlines and the shear simplicity of content, for first year students in particular. Yet for many students who study around me in my subject, I’m driven mad by their constant whinging about time and content. I, for one, do not work with people who moan, they have to look to themselves and change something, if the job demands a different lifestyle or different sleep pattern then they need to make those changes not demand that everything is changed around them. The increase in tuition fees undermines this as the more students pay, the more – rightfully – they should demand for their money. But ultimately, my key advice to my fellow-students is… maybe don’t spend every evening getting pissed, get a good night’s sleep instead.