The ‘I didn’t pay £9,000 for this’ phenomenon is awful
Uni has nothing to do with going to lectures
Yesterday, possibly for the first time ever, something interesting happened in Leeds.
Like the storming of the Bastille in 1789, or the Bolshevik uprising of 1917, or Danny Dyer smashing up the Queen Vic on Christmas Day 2014, it will go down in history.
Half of the 300 freshers taking PIED1601 – that’s The Introduction to Political Ideas module – walked out of their lecture after they found out it would consist entirely of a 51 minute YouTube video on Karl Marx.
One of them said: “The whole lecture was just some random YouTube video. I didn’t actually watch any of the video – I was too distracted by Yik Yak.”
This is it then, perhaps the funniest consequence of the way universities in this country have transformed from first-rate institutions to third-rate companies: we consider ourselves paying customers who know exactly what we need.
Sinking the best part of £50,000 on worthless degrees has created a severe restlessness in many of us. A sense we deserve more than we’re getting, an atmosphere of restraint and professionalism, a sense that university has to be approached as seriously as a job.
At school an afternoon watching a YouTube video would have been a cause for celebration, an opportunity to take a nap, to furtively whatsapp under the desk or assault the class nerd with one of those little finger bows made out of elastic bands and paper.
There will be no napping in Leeds now. Being on the receiving end of the worst deal since the Treaty of Versailles has filled current undergraduates with resentment. And you know what they say about resentment: it’s like sticking a power drill in your ear and expecting the thing you hate to die.
When you go to shit lectures like that one in Leeds, or you can’t find a seat in the library, or your personal tutor doesn’t turn up to their meeting and you say “I didn’t pay £9,000 for this” you’re both right and wrong at the same time.
If you think you’re spending £9,000 on a quality education you’re wrong. University is a giant, Kanye’s ego sized con. Most people doing degrees which aren’t tedious (engineering) or worthy (medicine) get completely fucked over: 58.8 per cent of graduates are in jobs deemed to be non-graduate roles.
You’ll sweat for that first and end up as a barista with a sleeve tattoo and a ponytail. Your degree will seem as quaint as how everyone loved Tony Blair in 1997, as useless as commemorative china marking the marriage of Charles and Diana.
Here’s the secret: you’re not university to be at university, you’re paying £9,000 for an experience, not an education. You’re not a customer, you’re a human being. You’ll end up despising whatever you study, regardless of whether you’re being taught it via youtube or from Brian Cox.
I’m disappointed with those Leeds freshers, not because they walked out of that lecture, but because they were even there in the first place. They should’ve been drinking Red Stripe and wearing no shoes and not talking about their massive mental health problems.
They should’ve been out there living them, the years of your life when you’re not answerable to anyone or anything, where the least important part of the day is a lecture.