Stop whinging and be grateful

Cärlchen Jupp isn’t enamoured with the standard entitlement culture that pervades Cambridge.

benefactors of Cambridge University cuts fees funding money protests sustainable investment

There is nothing worse than ungrateful money-bleeding shit-bags.

But given a lot of the moaning and groaning amongst the student body here, not least in exam term, it seems that ungrateful is de rigeur. To listen to some of the ever-present and aggressive bitching by undergraduate ungrates, you’d think that winning a place at the most extraordinary learning environment in the world is the worst thing ever to happen to them. And it’s pathetic.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the commemoration of benefactors in my own college. I hadn’t expected a crowd – most people can’t be arsed even to write to thank you for taking them out to dinner (which is, let’s be frank, crass rudeness or lazy stupidity). But I didn’t expect to be the only student there, undergraduate or graduate.

Yet I was, and it was extraordinary. Because to me, it absolutely typified the ideology of entitlement that permeates the entire student body here, from left to right to uninterested. And it seems to me that a lot of students need to wake the hell up and realize that they have no divine right to be here, and should take a moment to be thankful not only for the people that have got them here, but for the people who keep this university going through research, teaching and, yes, funding.

Cambridge doesn't grow on trees. Apart from the trees.

Cambridge doesn’t grow on trees. Apart from the trees.

Not that that is the done thing. Instead, we hear the usual vomit spew of dangerous nonsense complaining about ‘unethical investment’ with the concurrent cacophony of crap about tuition fees. Where leftoid amoebae expect money to come from, I’m not quite sure (other than ‘taxing the bankers’, which of course means nothing). But more worrying is the unacceptably lazy attitude of the majority, who basically couldn’t give a shit where the money comes from and don’t plan on thinking or thanking anyone for it. And it breeds long term thoughtlessness that has its own consequences – not least, the utter lack of an alumni-based investment in the university.

That’s not in any way to say that this university is perfect. It’s not. Too often it’s run by politics over substance, by petty, narrow and self-interest and at times by flagrant disregard of the student body. You only have to look through the archive of this paper to see occasions when the university has scored extraordinary own goals. No wonder, to some extent, people don’t cough up. Our JCRs do some really useful work on these kinds of things, and colleges would do well to listen to moderate, thinking students. If they don’t, they don’t deserve a penny.

But it also doesn’t help that we think that we deserve ‘our money’s worth’ – not taking a single second to think where that money comes from. Yes, sure – £9k comes from our own pockets. But that is not the cost of a degree – it is part of the cost. The rest of the money comes from graduate student fees, from careful investments, from donations, and from the general public, the majority of whom did not have the extraordinary privilege of attending a place like this. Perhaps that’s right, given the social and economic benefit of higher education to the country. But it’s not like we don’t gain, particularly from going to a place as extraordinary as Cambridge. So, quite frankly, shut up about being consumers and your expectations, and grow up. Once students start paying tax, it’s extraordinary how their political views change. Nothing is free – and it’s about time we started behaving like that.

Nag, nag, nag all day long

Nag, nag, nag all day long

University, particularly at a place like this, is about hard work. There is nothing more depressing to a supervisor than seeing a student pissing away their chance of doing really well, and, just as importantly, stealing a place from someone who desperately wanted it and could have done well. Moaning about work and exams is all well and good – but Cambridge isn’t a fucking holiday camp. Sure, assessment is hard. Welcome to real life. Can we make the place better for students? Yes, definitely – not only in the assessment system but in making sure all teaching is useful teaching. Is going on and on about how bad Cambridge is in increasingly negative and us-and-them language going to help? No. So stop it.

There are many of us who love this place, realize how utterly and unbelievably lucky we are to be here, how little we deserve that and who respect how much it has given us. Many of us are the same people who have engaged constructively to improve things where they fall short. But places like this don’t exist without hard work, and constantly criticizing the staff and fellowship ain’t gonna help. And nor is being so far up your own backside that you don’t give a second’s thought for those who contribute financially to us being here, or to maintaining the stewardship of such an extraordinary place. It’s not good enough, and if I made a fortune, I’d think twice before pledging it to a place full of ungrateful jerks like this.

Take the time to say thank you. It doesn’t hurt. And if you are too busy or can’t be arsed or think you deserve your lot at Cambridge, please, go screw yourselves. You’re not getting my money, and you don’t deserve anybody else’s either.