Cliques, college fees and graduation: Why colleges at Lancs shouldn’t exist, according to you

Lancs students spoke out

From the day you select your accommodation, the college system will be a big part of your university experience at Lancaster. The colleges play a role in determining who you live with, who you meet, befriend and perhaps even who you date. College life is usually a positive experience for students, giving them a support system that can be invaluable when starting out in a new place. But being tied to an area of campus and a certain mix of people isn’t always a good thing.

We asked Lancs students about their experience of the college system and why this tried and tested set-up may be outdated. It seems college life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! So, here’s why colleges shouldn’t exist, according to Lancs students.

Graduating in your college

Everyone graduates with their college, therefore you don’t get to graduate with friends from your course or people from different colleges. For most people, graduation will be a wonderful day of celebration before starting a new chapter of your life. Imagine not being able to share that day with your friends if they are from a different college? All the memories you made texting under the table in lectures and walking to seminars together. If you don’t know that many people from your college, graduation suddenly makes for a very different and lonely day.

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College cliques

It can get very cliquey in colleges, limiting your options for socialising. Coming to university can be hard enough for some people to adapt to the social scene of their new city, meet like-minded people and develop friendships. Although attempting to project a ‘family’ atmosphere, the system means it’s harder to meet people in other colleges, and when you do it can be difficult to see them and maintain the friendship. Especially with the humorous ‘rivalry’, which is encouraged between colleges during freshers week with chants and through inter-college sports matches, it can be difficult to mix.

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The college fee

The college fee is a rip off – when you’re a student that’s strapped for cash anyway, it’s a bit of a punch in the gut to immediately be billed £30, especially if you’re not one for the nightlife and aren’t going to be participating in many college socials. If you’re not living on campus and don’t benefit from facilities as much, it’s a little unfair, especially if your college isn’t really something you feel a connection to. It would be easier for the Uni to organise University wide activities and this would mean students were charged less and got a chance to mix with a wider range of their peers.

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Living with people you might not get on with

Since your college is a factor in determining who you end up living with, and people select their college based on a very questionable set of personality traits associated to each college in the descriptions online, it can be difficult if you end up living with people you don’t get on with. This is especially true if you don’t have many options but to move in with them again next year because you’ve struggled to meet people outside your college. Limiting the amount of people you might meet by placing you with a select group, colleges can be incredibly damaging to some people’s social life and thereby mental state.

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Power hungry JCR officers

In every college, there are some people who embrace the college lifestyle and throw themselves in with vigour! And there’s nothing wrong with this, college activities can be fun and if your college is important to you, that’s great. But sometimes your archetypal JCR officer can take their role a little too seriously. It’s great if you want to represent your college, but you don’t need to orchestrate dictator like control over activities and hound people for votes.

While some students love the college system as they identify and feel proud with their chosen college, there are others who disagree with their strong overbearing presence on campus. It does make it harder to meet new people around campus, but it does make it easier to meet people within your college.

Should the colleges stay or is it time for them to go?

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