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March 12, 2012 | by  | in Features |
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Why Are You Here?

Level with me, champ. What really brought you to university?

Because it wasn’t for the fame, the glamour and the bitches. I asked this question to various people at university and got sworn at five times. More coherent answers included “to further my education”, “I decided to do something I loved”, “I knew I was going from the off”; and I swear this last one is true, “because I’m Asian”.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we all had that kind of self-assurance? To simply have the drive to pick a career path, plough through it and end up with a beautiful job and matching hubby to sleep with every night. For the common everyman, this plan becomes unhinged at step zero. Most of us don’t know where to begin. And that is why the predominant answer of students that I received boiled down to “where else am I going to go?”

University allows a student to go wherever their studies fancy them. That’s the beauty of the establishment. For the hard worker, this is an opportunity to dabble in whatever subjects you need to excel in your field. Sickeningly on the flip side, you have a vast proportion of undergraduates using this dabbling experience as an excuse to postpone the inevitable quarter-life crisis. I’ll wager that is why my first year of university was tempered by such a chilled atmosphere: in my eyes, no one really knew what on Phil Goff’s tuffed nipples was going on.

The phenomenon of ill-directed teens has been on the steady rise of late, and university becomes their stalling tactic until they find something they like. Let’s assume that they complete their degree with a piece of paper that says they can do a lot of bumkiss really really well. That’s about $30,000 splurged by a student on study that doesn’t do shit. This isn’t out of pocket, mind—this is borrowed off Mr. Key’s national credit card. And even if someone eventually decides on what they are going to do with their life, the simple truth is that university doesn’t hold the same allure to employers as it does to the students. There is an exception to this rule on occasion, e.g. the doctors who take a look under your hood every so often. But for the most part, the closest a BA graduate will get to writing a best-selling novel is if 12 exceptionally portly Americans show up at Denny’s.

As someone that has been through his first year and come up with more losses than wins, I know how tough it is to go through a year and not find a direction. If you can’t find a practical, non-contrived reason for you to be in a particular course of study, you may have to accept that university isn’t where your qualifications are. But that isn’t a bad thing. Training and apprenticeships are holding more stock than university degrees are these days, and people are still trying to prune out the idea of prestige that surrounds a university education. If ‘prestige’ means you sit in the same Law lecture as a backwards-cap toting 50 Cent and still consider it to be the top echelon, you’re a long way from Levin.

That’s the nicest way I can manage to tell you to get out while you still can. Let me dust off the sugar coating with some cold, moist, socio-political truths. More kiddly-winks in university equals more money poured into student loans. This leaves the Government at a loss, leading to budget cuts. Education is always first on the chopping blocks by some backwards Alabama logic, and potential students get rejected as a result. Some of these could have be the next Oscar Wilde or Katherine Mansfield, turned down so an Irish bootlegger could read Shakespeare.

Seriously, if you don’t know what you are here for, fuck off. Amscray. You’re making the rest of us look bad.

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