This post is about my own personal experience as a first year university student. My views and feelings are based on my individual expectations. I appreciate that everybody accepts different things and has their own standards. These are just my standards and opinions being voiced through my blog.
In August 2010 when I received my A level results, I felt unbelievably lucky because I had got a place at university. The first thing I heard when I woke up on results morning on the radio was how thousands of students didn’t get a place at their chosen university.
“The university admissions service said 2010 was perhaps the toughest year for admissions for the past decade.” – (Source)
It felt like all the hard work that I had done for the past four years was finally going towards something. All those GCSE’s and A Levels I studied for really did pay off and get me where I thought I wanted to be. For years and years I had it set in my mind that I wanted to be a teacher. This goal helped me push through my school exams and strive towards higher education.
So I obviously felt very blessed that my work had paid off and that I was going to university. I am the first person in my immediate family to go to university and I felt proud about this too.
The university I applied to is about 25 miles away from where I live, being a family girl anyway I had no intention of ever moving away to university and so opted to drive in for my studies.
Initially I was excited about starting university, but I quickly discovered the true realities of it all. Overall what really got to me at first, was the complete lack of support that I received. We were set a bunch of assignments and left to just get on with them, which as first year students you would think that we may have got a bit of guidance with. Time and time again I emailed tutors for help, to either wait literally weeks for a reply or just be totally ignored.
Seeing an empty inbox became a regular occurrence for me. It made me feel unbelievably frustrated and so insignificant. Firstly, in today’s society the internet is used practically all day, every day! So they had no excuse to not read their emails. Secondly, it takes five minutes to reply to an email – we can’t even be spared five minutes of their time.
The classes were a complete shambles too. For some classes we didn’t even have a regular class room and constantly moved from room to room, which is very inconsistent. They also had the audacity to place large classes of about 40 students in tiny rooms making it ridiculously squashed and resulting in a lack of desks, completely appalling!
Also because I study English literature modules, for many of the texts you go to class and watched the DVD version of a particular novel, play, whatever. Is this what education is today? Watching films.
The cost of travelling in to these pointless classes topped the whole thing off perfectly. It is very demoralising how much of our money is going in to this, when we get very little in return.
“The AA estimated that in total, motorists are spending almost £10m more a day on petrol than this time a year ago.” – (Source)
The whole thing has been such an eye-opener to me. I had an emotional break down a few months ago: I let everything get on top of me. I’ve never felt so low and scared in my whole life. Its made me question so much about my life too. And sadly its also damaged my goal of being a teacher. I’ve lost my love for English and I certainly don’t think very much of the education system anymore. For the first time I don’t have a clear goal I think that I hate this the most about what university has done to me.
What I do know is this though:
I still want a degree but I’m not going back to university. *
I am going to work towards my future in a different way.
All you can do in life is try.
* But on saying this I am going to sit my first year exams so this year hasn’t been a total waste of time.
I feel sorry for the future students too. Its bad enough paying £3,500 a year for this, yet they have the nerve to increase it to £9,000! Its worrying to think that people my age (who say don’t live away) are going to have a £10,000 debt when they start their lives. Imagine what debts the future generations will end up with! What a way to start your life – with a huge debt!
The way things are going, it will turn to how it used to be, where only the rich received an education.
So, what’s next in my future then?
I am going to do my exams at my current university, but I’m not worrying about them too much because I now consider this place part of my past. In October I start studying towards an English degree with The Open University.
I hope that I will be happier doing this. It feels like the right path for me, I am self disciplined enough to study by myself plus it means that I can work from home.
Depending on how things go I may plan to pick up a few more hours at work, it also means that I can help out with my grandparents who need looking after and I will hopefully have more flexibility going to the gym too.
This experience made me realise that its not worth letting things bring you down. But it is easy to feel defeated like I did, instead focus on what is good in your life and you will soon be back on track!