UCL-Are We Really All That?
Why are we so full of ourselves?
4th in the world. 17th in the world. 13th in Britain (but that’s based on student satisfaction so that doesn’t count); all this rankings talk is giving UCL a bit of a big head.
It seems that wherever I go on campus these days, I cannot escape this overwhelming feeling of “you’re special.” It seems to emanate from those famous portico pillars like some sort of megalomaniacal beacon. Last week I was chatting with a friend who lives in inter-collegiate halls. He kept emphasizing how there was such a difference between the Queen Mary and KCL students. “I mean really,” he said with a knowing look, ‘they’re not like us are they?’
Like us. The intelligentsia, if you will. The elite. The leaders of tomorrow; the pioneers of today.
It’s not too bad for a bunch of Oxbridge rejects is it?
In a town like London, over flowing with universities desperate to take you in and then fling you into the corporate world, it’s a nice feeling to be top dog. We’re the most highly regarded, the most academically rigorous, the most applications per place.
‘LSE!” I hear you cry. “What about Imperial?” Ah but you see, they don’t teach the humanities do they? Faffing about with labs and charts? Puh-lease. We teach literature for Christ sake.
But is this prestige really that well deserved? Are we really that clever? That ambitious? Are we all not falling out of The Roxy absolutely wankered every Wednesday? Do we not have those individuals in our seminars who you often look over to and wonder just how they scraped those A levels? Are we actually all that?
It suddenly becomes easy to slag those other unis as inferior, despite the fact that most people who apply to UCL will apply elsewhere in London. Personally, once faced with my rejection from KCL (the shame!), deciding to go to UCL became a hell of a lot easier. It’s interesting to see how disdain for those ‘other places’ increases exponentially in those who are prevented from walking through their doors.
Rivalry between universities is healthy. It’s normal to feel a sense of pride about what you’ve achieved and I will concede, getting into UCL is a considerable achievement. However it’s easy to forget that, at the end of the day, the difference between A*AA or AAB isn’t really that much.
Nor do your exam results determine whether you’re a good person or, more importantly, an interesting person. There are plenty of dull intelligent people-academics for example. Getting caught up in the hot air of league tables and careers fairs, you forget that the majority of society doesn’t function by a hierarchical system of intellect.
I mean, let’s be honest, all this rivalry nonsense is created to make you feel better about your own choices. How much, after all, does an institution really define you? You’d probably still be a pint chugging rugby lad whether you went to UCL, LSE or Leeds. And I’m sure Queen Mary is also full of satchel carrying, chelsea boot wearing, hipster twats.
Whether you’re at the best university in Britain, or the worst, it all comes down to your own experience. Spending time letting a bunch of bogus statistics determine your self worth is only going to lead to a massive headache. And probably no friends. After all, no one likes a bragger.