I love university, I really do, something which probably stems from the fact I love learning and I never want to stop doing so. Truly, there’s no question that I’m not at the right place or doing the right thing.
Liverpool is a beautiful city for a start, full of culture and friendly but often very difficult to understand people. And I love campus and all the things around. Sometimes while walking around, I suddenly realise how lucky I am, because I got what I wanted.
I have been lucky. I’ve got two jobs I enjoy, a nice house, and I’m part of two great societies. After a change in path, I’m finally on the right degree course, and I hope that my prospects when I finish are high.
But that’s not the problem. The problem for me, is university itself – not the lecturers, or the courses I’m studying, but the management.
When I packed up and left for university, I thought I was here for an education, and I am, but the management don’t seem to have the same ideas. You can never realise until you experience it how much universities are businesses, rather than education establishments.
The whole idea seems insane to me – you’d think that they’d focus on the great minds they’re creating and the great leaders of the future. But instead they’re more concerned about how much money they’re getting. Last year to live in university halls, I paid £120 or so a week, and I thought that was insane. But this year, I have friends living in admittedly new-built halls who are paying close to £200… Per week, while I pay £70 to live in a privately rented house. Frankly, I don’t know how they’re living.
It’s not just halls. The politics department is severely under-funded, to the extent that I am having to take a module in archeology, because they can’t put on enough modules. The English and politics departments are housed in concrete disasters, while science students are continually being given brand spanking new buildings, when they pay the same fees as me. I understand that science degrees do cost more, and that it would be impossible to charge students on how much their course costs. But when I’m struggling in a module completely unrelated to my degree programme, meanwhile someone in the science department on a course of about 10 people get nice buildings and hundreds of contract hours, I feel wounded.
The funding for the arts side of campus is a problem. I know why they do it, because more funding comes from scientific research, but great and inspired research comes from arts graduates too. Arts graduates basically run the country: most of the Houses of Parliament have politics degrees, and I’d imagine most of the media have English degrees. Yet I’m sure they all experienced the same treatment as being unimportant while at university.
I’m not expecting it to change dramatically, but I would at least like a nice new building like the science students get seemingly on a weekly basis, and I would at least like to be able to take modules in MY OWN SUBJECTS. But the university are too busy caring more about the money, than about me.
I’ve had first hand experience – I was originally placed in 3 modules from other subjects and 1 in politics and when I asked for help, the support office just shrugged as I desperately cried “this is my future”, meanwhile they cared more about when they were having their next tea break. If the university cared more about their students, I wouldn’t have been in this situation. Indeed, a caring and helpful lady sorted it for me in the end, and I was grateful to learn that at least someone has some common sense and humanity.
I love university, but there’s too much bureaucracy about the whole thing getting in my way of what I’m here to do. It feels like a bad joke, and I want them to stop laughing.