Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to school

‘Trop d'école tue l'école’ Potschke

Well I'm sorry it's been so long. I'd like to say that I've been busy, but quite the opposite is true. I have been simultaneously doing very little and living life to the max. It's been wonderful, especially on those rare occasions that the sun shone over Forest Gate this summer. Also, I haven't had a cigarette since the 7th July. Well, I've had like one-and-a-half, but they didn't count. It hasn't been so tough, but I'm finding it very hard to work without smoking. Usually I have a cigarette every 200 words, or whenever I feel I've written something worth writing, or whenever I get tired. Nowadays I write 200 words... then I just stop writing. My My Documents is crammed with things I started working on, vowed to finish, deserted for one second to make a cup of NRT tea, and then abandoned. The time it takes for the kettle to boil is just long enough for me to lose concentration and/or interest.

Anyway, if I successfully complete any of these you can look forward to my opinions on everything from abortion to John Le Carré over the coming unspecified time-span. I'm back at university and so blogging will move up my priority list. Summer Holiday Priorities
1. Lie in sunshine
2. Drink Polish beer in sunshine
3. Go camping
4. Watch the Ashes
5. Never get out of bed before noon, if at all
6. Eat 99 Flakes
7. Go to Proms
8. Do very little in Dalston
9- 42. Other activities
43. Blog

Term-time Priorities
1. Get up every day
2. Blog
3. Read books unrelated to my course
4. Look at Wikipedia
5. Find a new place to live
6. Spend hours in Drapers slagging off the beer, décor, ambiance, bar-staff
7. Pretend not to do very little in Walthamstow
8. Think about smoking with the cool kids
 9. Actual degree-related work

 I went back to school yesterday. It hadn’t changed much. People at my university tend to be monosyllabic, obtuse and smell of cheap wine, and the students aren’t much better boom boom. I picked up ‘Cub’, our student magazine. It had an expensive-looking new design and was printed on thick, matt, A5 paper. Daring. Inside, among a lot of faked ‘readers-write-in’ features stolen from London’s free papers, was an editorial by Sam Cunningham explaining to those of us who had forgotten why they were at university. Whilst others sit around unemployed worrying about how they’re going to afford to pay the mortgage, you have the opportunity to relax and sit out the worst of the recession, and will be ready to walk into the influx of new jobs when the market picks back up again. There really has never been a better time to be a student and there may well never be another. For your information, Sam Wanker Cunningham, I am at university for three reasons
1. To learn stuff- both the stuff taught on my courses and other stuff. Which I have time and energy to learn because I don’t come home from work exhausted at 7pm every day on a dangerously overcrowded tube train.
2. Because my pre-university job which I loved, although easy enough that an intelligent 12-year-old could have done it (not brilliantly as I did it, but adequately), refused to pay me a living wage unless I got myself a degree.
3. I was terrified that if I left it any longer the fees would go up even more. I’m already paying more than £3000 a year. But mostly number 1 (I’m in a lists mood tonight). ‘Ride out the recession’. Huh. A student living in London can barely pay the rent with their entire maximum yearly loan. Afterwards they must rely on grants, or part-time jobs, or, more likely, on their parents, who are just as affected by the recession as anyone else. At the same time they’re likely to be racking up fees loan of over £10,000 for an undergraduate degree. Cunningham is talking nonsense, which is what I have learnt to expect. Students are poor. Like all poor people, they will suffer during a recession. And it’s painful to hear education dismissed as some kind of investment- we have nothing to invest! Except, like the princess in Rumpelstiltskin, our future first-born-child. Anyway, plenty of people can give you the facts on student poverty and student debt. But I’ve been at university for over three years now, and it breaks my heart that I have yet to come across a decent, well-written article.

I used to live with a woman who had been active on her student paper, and like the paper itself she was middle-class, middle-of-the -road, amoral and frankly boring. Call me a snob but that barely surprises me coming from Sussex University. But I don’t know any evil, selfish, reactionary, over-wealthy, flippant spoiled brats at Queen Mary (well, maybe a couple, but they all study Politics) and yet that’s all I see in Cub. These idiots are giving student journalism an even worse name than it already had (and then going on to fuck up the entire media, but you kind of expect that). Student magazines could be almost-censorship free, and where else can that happen? (Except on my blog). Instead, students censor themselves, and student magazines end up not just bland and politically impotent, but also boring, ignorant and offensive to the majority of students who are neither of these things.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Write them yourself. Seriously, student journalism needs people like you. If you need more life coaching, you know where I am.