What everyone actually thinks of your course
It’s time to come to terms
Whether it was a first choice or not, we’re all proud of our degree. We’re at peace with it, we’re all just trying to get through this together and get a 2:1. But you know that niggling fear of what other people think of you? Whether they’re judging your life choices? Well, this is probably what they’re thinking:
A wealthy yet empty and meaningless future lies ahead. At least you’ll be able to afford a nice flat in the city.
“Weed is just a plant man. How can you make a plant illegal? Have your read my most recent blog on cultural appropriation?”
Adam supports MK Dons and got into Lancaster through clearing. In the last five years he’s read one book, a readable, chatty history of modern Britain written by that noted academic Andrew Marr. Adam, poor, dead between the eyes Adam, applied to do History. Nobody would take him, obviously. And now he’s here in Lancaster, the butt of a million lame Indiana Jones references, learning about palaeolithic arrowheads and being in the frankly bizarre situation of wishing his life was more like an episode of Time Team. Imagine being in a situation where you wished your life was more like Tony Robinson’s, let alone Indiana Jones’.
You didn’t get into Medicine and now you’re going to spend the next five years stuck on a post-grad.
You didn’t get into medicine, did you? No one actually wants to do biomed, but find comfort in the fact that this course was number five on everybody in your seminar’s UCAS application.
None of the experience, none of the kudos, all of the workload. It’s fine, there’s no reason to be bitter, it’s only three years, then another three years whilst you convert. Your formaldehyde-smelling friends have moved on, but you’ll still be a doctor. One day.
Look at you, in your suit, with your business school lanyard. Sorted for an internship in the city with a friend of the family. Only ever seen in the club that sells saccharine cocktails in martini glasses, with dry ice to wow all the girls in the booth, there’s about one personality between the five of them. But, boy do they know how to have a good time. That broker job and £40k salary fresh out of uni entitles them to the high life, wherever they are. You keep doing you, we’ll stay here, do a masters for our grad prospects and carry on being jealous.
No-one really understands what you do most of the time, but you’re clearly pretty clever.
The boys didn’t want to look like creepy Laurence, the outnumbered guy in English who probably does cheerleading as well so his life is just him surrounded by women. It’s History for people who want to be a bit more sophisticated but can’t be bothered being told how to think about thinking in Philosophy. This is the basis of our civilisation, they’ll cry. But actually, it’s nothing more than an easy path to a 2:1 for anyone who really enjoyed Brad Pitt in Troy. You’ll come out the other side not really any more enlightened than when you went in.
It’s 4am, you’re sat in a sweaty room, with three compsci kids from the Midlands, and you wonder how it’s got this far. They’ve shown you the darkest parts of the internet, where you can buy AKs and human kidneys – but only for the keks. Their humour is so niche it’s regressed back to stick figures and garbled pepes. You start to wonder if everyone’s been lying to you and the Dark web is just an innocent bit of fun and Anonymous don’t deserve such a bad rap.
It’s full of blog-writing, tortured souls who think they’re a voice of a generation just because they learned the importance of using “but”, “therefore” and “meanwhile” when telling a story. Every boy thinks he’s Kerouac, every girl thinks she’s Sylvia Plath. Nobody actually does anything but they all have Moleskine journals.
You based your degree choice on an episode from The Wire. It’s not quite Law, it’s not quite Psychology, it’s a bit awkward to have to explain it to your parents.
Why didn’t you just go to drama school?
Sure, they drink loads but does anyone ever really see them on a night out? Almost as scary as the real thing and seen just as infrequently, dentists spend most of their five years at uni differentiating themselves from Medics, and telling people how inexplicably they actually wanted to be a dental hygienist, not a doctor.
Business are cooler than you, and Accounting are going to make more money. Economics are just cushioned in the middle, the people by the kitchen at parties, Leonardo DiCaprio’s body double in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Is this the real life, is this just Mechanical Engineering? Stuck in a fleece, no escape from a well-paid job.They’re boring, fans of the same music as their dad and probably play indoor cricket. Trips away include visits to their nan in Lincoln, weekend getaways to centre parks, and that all important eight week long field trip to a giant dam in the middle of Wales. Enjoy those Gore Tex walking boots.
Everyone thinks you lay around spending all day reading, but this is never the case. You actually just lay around doing pretty much nothing. Sparknotes are still valid for university-level seminars. Quoting the final passage to the Great Gatsby might have might you look quite cool when the film came out, but it’s hardly an essential life skill.
You think you’re going to save the world, mainly because you watched Blackfish and you’re now convinced it’ll be you to break out the orcas and lead them to freedom. Well guess what? Those orcas are staying where they are, just like your job prospects.
We’ve all seen one too many episodes of Project Runway, Claudia, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing a real degree.
Money money money money. MONEY. Yeah, you may have shitty uni hours and a depressing future, but my how rich you will be. You’ll maintain that maths is “more of a language” whilst crying into your calculator.
It’s not all colouring in. There’s some standing in rivers too.
Your “love” of rocks is just a disguise. Everyone knows the only reason you don’t shut up about limestone and where the earth came from is because you’re clever enough to realise three years studying Geology is pretty much three years balling around the globe. Just popping off to the Himalayas to look at some tectonic plates, then to Iceland to whip my top off and pose in a hot spring in my bra, then might as well take a trip to Brazil because why the fuck not? Have a good holiday.
You and the boys – all of the incredibly high percentage of boys on your course – find parts of your subject genuinely interesting, and parts mind-numbingly boring. The problem is, your personality veers towards the latter – meaning trying to hold a conversation with you is as dry as the 1879 Mississipi drought and as insipid as the League of Nations’ intervention into the Abyssinian invasion.
History of Art
Let me paint you a picture: Arabella’s posh and she didn’t know what she wanted to do but she knew she wanted to go to uni. She wanted to do art but she’s shit at painting, plus she’s not quite cool enough to be an art student. But she’s not like historians (more fun and less nerdy). Bella knows everyone on the course ( her and Hugo went to school down south together) and goes out a lot because she’s only got two seminars a year. Her essay titles are as non-descript and empty as her contact hours: “What is yellow?”, “Describe the feeling of a broken mirror in relation to Northern European oil painting” or “How is black and white photography red?
It’s called Hentai, and it’s art.
You wanted to do politics but this sounded a bit more interesting. It’s not, and now you have to try to explain what IR is at every smoking area in town until you settle with “it’s basically politics”.
Maths and Nutrition? Sure. Sport science and Marine Biology? Why not. You’re not really good at anything, just averagely good at a few things. You are just making it harder for yourself. Also, you have less friends because your always in different lectures.
You’re just doing it for the year abroad aren’t you? Fair play.
Do you study law? I would never have known. You never mention it, except in the “Assignments” WhatApp group or in the library smoking area at 4am discussing modafinil dosages.
Know this: there are 200,000 lawyers in this country already.
Not mathsy enough to do Finance and Accounts, not good enough at essays to do a History or a Politics, Management is for people that coast. When I think of a management student, I think of a bang average boring white guy called Rich, that wears crew clothing and went to grammar school. Middle of the road at uni, middle of the road for the rest of his life.
Just because I live for abstract and pure mathematics doesn’t mean I’m not wild on a night out. I mean, the socials. The society is called CHAOS. What do you expect?
Living in Gloucestershire must have been tough. Having nothing in the cupboard but immaculately polished oxfords to match with your endless supply of crisp white ralphies is a constant reminder of the choice you made at 15 to become smug for the rest of your life. Electives in Barbados, guaranteed jobs and the ultimate aphrodisiac of a career path all conspire to make you a truly unbearable person to be around. We all hate Jeremy Hunt but come on, enough is enough.
But please still save me if I start choking.
It’s kind of weird that you decided at age 18 that you wanted to dedicate your life to watching babies get pushed out of vaginas.
Your parents weren’t strict enough, and they spent too much money on sending you to one-on-one tuba lessons with an elderly, papery-handed “friend of the family”.
Clearly you’re really clever, and you work really hard. You should get serious credit for that.
Unfortunately, you can’t say your course without sounding like a smug cunt. You do Neuroscience do you? Stop going on about it. Oh, I was the one who brought it up? That’s such a fucking Neuroscience thing to say.
Megan and Shannon are freshers who just love a girly night in with a cuppa and your half price Dominoes that your special cards got you. But you’re about twenty six Megan, the time has passed.
“So you basically just work in the pharmacy, yeah?” is a question you will always ask a pharmacist, but they’re never happy to hear. Turns out, they do, but they also give people (dispense) the correct amount of drugs and wear a white coat. If it goes wrong, they can kill someone, you know.
Pharmacy is the course of pretty northern girls, destined to live and work nearby. The more adventurous pharmacists will go on to do exotic “locum” work, where they travel the region’s pharmacies within a 20 mile radius, so not every single day will be as mind numbingly repetitive. As a society they are pretty close knit – pharmacy balls get pretty loose, so they say, but not that loose as there’s only one Asian guy per 100 girls.
Magnus. Brilliant, misunderstood, nihilistic Magnus. Magnus with his black ink pen and his black leather notebook. Magnus reading Man Alone With Himself under that tree in the middle of campus. Magnus walking in the rain without a coat or an umbrella, just to get wet. “What are you doing Magnus” you shout at him from the other side of the road. Magnus looks at you with those icy blue eyes. “I just want to feel something” he shouts back. Magnus knows what it’s like to be the only person who’s AWAKE in the room. Magnus is riding the long, lonely highway of life, only wearing black, occasionally painting his nails.
Magnus is a bit of a cunt isn’t he?
Every action has an equal reaction. See:
Action: studying Physics.
Reaction: never getting laid.
For once, just let someone say something important or interesting without trying to make a mockery of them. It’s all you do. Half the time you’re apparently damning insight is disjointed and irrelevant anyway – which is more of a reflection on yourself than the poor soul you decided to lambast with your weak at best One Nation conservatism. Nobody cares, Marcus.
PPE students will have you believe they are the future leaders of tomorrow, up there with this generation’s late, great revolutionaries. Always scurrying around to “meetings” or setting up some libertarian think tank and telling everyone to eat out of bins. Turning every conversation into a discussion about Kant or the welfare state is a skill that no other student has the inquisitive capacity to do.
But unless you did it at Oxford (literally, what was the point at York?), every PPE student is destined for the bleak world of finance – every single one I know now sits smugly in the office of a big four, pretending it’s what they wanted all along. The transformation is gradual: they came to university with a rat’s tail braid but they’ll leave with a sweeping short back and sides. They used to hate Facebook but by third year they’re 500 connections deep into Linkedin. Watch them quickly forget about poverty, starving and minimum wage as they join the capitalist ranks just like the rest of us. You sir, might have three subjects in your degree title, but you’re no better than the rest of us. At least you’ll always have that weird shiver of pleasure when someone asks “what does it stand for?”.
“Mum, I’m coming home next weekend, and I know why dad left you”
You got in through clearing, didn’t you?
If you’ve ended up here and you’re not actually religious, we can only assume your preferred course was full. If you are religious, have fun speaking to the same twenty like-minded people all year and keeping your views safely unchallenged. If you’re not married off by graduation, it means you were the least good-looking of a bad-looking bunch.
You fancy animals.