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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Debt, Drunkenness and Dirty Kitchens

The annual ‘A Levels are getting easier’ story is round again. Hard to believe it’s that time of year already.

Rather than drone on – as I would love to do – about the pointlessness of it all (of COURSE they’re getting easier, kids are getting THICKER) I thought I’d write my response to The Times’ ‘Ten Reasons to go to University’. They say:

1. You can make A Levels a thing of the past.

Yeah, ok, I’ve got no argument against that. Apparently once you get to Uni, nobody cares what A Levels you’ve got. Personally, I never noticed anybody caring what A Levels I got when I was doing the fucking things. Least of all my school teachers.

2. The work will actually be interesting.

Rather a ridiculous assumption, this. If you’re studying molecular biology, the work might be interesting. If you get your rocks off on molecular biology. If you’re studying English, on the other hand, the work will only ever be marginally interesting, on the grounds that there’s actually only the equivalent of a day a week to get interested in. The rest of the time you can either get a proper job, get drunk or masturbate. I don’t recommend combining these.

3. Learn to get on with people and make lifelong friends.

Learn to get on with people? What does that mean? Are we to assume that, by the age of 18 and having spent every weekday of their teenage life in the competitive social environment that is school, these kids haven’t learned how to socialise with other humans? What are they, fucking autistic?
And as for making lifelong friends, well yes, you’ll meet a very small number of people at University that you like and want to drink beer with, and lots and lots of people that you’d rather stab in the eyeball with a fork than share breathing space with. A bit like the rest of your life. Oh, except there’s generally more of the latter group to go around in a University. And they’re drunk. And dirty. And noisy. And living in the flat next door. Enjoy!

4. It’s your one chance to doss around.

Oh please. Have you heard of the dole? You don’t have to pay £3000+ a year for the priviledge of sitting on your arse going quietly out of your mind on the dole. Plus if you do go out of your mind (which you will if you live like a student in a squalid cesspit of an overpriced house in the shit end of town watching deal or no deal on television) they’ll give you extra as a disability allowance. Everyone’s a winner.

5. The graduate premium (i.e. cash)

According to The Times, if you have a degree you’re guaranteed to earn more money than if you don’t have one.
Excuse me momentarily…


Ah ha.

That’s a fucking good one. Must remember to tell that to my plumber next time he pops round. In his Mercedes.

6. It’s never too late

Oh, this is the mature student bit, isn’t it?
Well, yes, yes it is. If you’re 30 and you’ve got a mortgage and a job and some semblance of a secure and contented life and you’re hit by the sudden and INSANE notion that you want to render yourself unemployed and surrounded by fuckwitted teenagers for three years, what I suggest you do is go to a friend, partner or colleague and ask them to slap you repeatedly in the face with an iron bar until you snap out of it.

7. You’ll enjoy crazy experiences that you won’t find anywhere else.

True, true indeed. Nowhere else will you find people who consider a brigade of St Johns Ambulancemen a necessary precaution on a night out clubbing. Who bring home traffic cones for a joke because they’re just so post-ironically-fucking-funny. Who think that bathrooms need to be cleaned annually. Who talk inane shit incessantly but believe themselves more intelligent than the rest of society. At no other time in your life will you be patronised and hated by everyone else in society, and suffer in the humbling and soul destroying knowledge that they’re absolutely bloody right. Should I go on?

8. Think of your country!

This refers to the skills shortage. We need more highly educated people in this country, so going to University is…yeah, like a really good thing to do, yeah? Well, yes, until you realise that, three years down the line, you’re £15K in debt, you can’t afford to buy a postage stamp never mind a home, you’re up against every other ‘highly educated’ bastard in the country in a swamped jobs market, and you fuck off to America where they’ll pay you twice as much as here. Yep. University is a patriotic act, people.

9. What else are you going to do?

This is a reason to waste three years of your life, is it? Because you haven't the intelligence to think of anything more productive to do with your time? Jesus. I can hear the underside of the barrel being scraped from here.
Here's a suggestion: how about getting a paying job that will allow you to function as a contributing member of society?
Gosh, I found that question quite easy! Must be thanks to my superior education.

10. Learn how brilliant you can be

And that statement, ladies and gentleman, (from a currently-serving work-dodger) sums up EXACTLY what is wrong with students. Here endeth the lesson.

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