Why am I paying £9,000 for a foundation year that I didn’t want to do?

It’s not a beneficial use of my time

One of the unique ventures of Sussex is opening up a myriad of opportunities for students unsure as to which degree course they would like to pursue, or for those who miss the grades for the course they would like to do by offering a foundation year. Sadly, I am the latter category.

I had a dream of studying English Literature, and instead I find myself studying the Arts and Humanities Foundation Course. I’m constantly repeating “it’s only for one year”, and whilst it can be a pain having to do units in History, which is something that isn’t my own personal area of interest, the course isn’t too bad.

“Step 10: have a bath”

However, there are some aspects of the course that prove to be rather annoying, in particular, the gruelling three hour Academic Development sessions which are a compulsory element of the course. Of course, we all learn something new every day, and I by no means claim to know everything, but I do question the validity of being told how to write an essay at this age, especially seeing as I did get an A in English, but missed out on achieving the required grades in my other subjects.

That being said, everyone I have encountered on my course seems like a sharp minded, intelligent individual, so why are we being subjected to a session in which we are quite literally advised to “have a bath and take a walk” post essay writing. It’s a joke. It is a torture that I feel none of us at university level need to be subjected to – foundation year or not.

Reading has become a tedious, monotonous and never ending task.

Degree students’ hours vary, but I know that those doing an English degree have more contact hours than myself, yet we are paying the exact same fees. Many of my course mates share similar issues, questioning why is it that we are not gaining a qualification but paying the same extortionate prices as those who are working towards theirs? On the minimum loan, I’m already struggling and this means I have to spend an extra year’s worth of expenses. University is a great enough expense as it is, and sadly whilst foundation year students will be spending the same amount of time and money studying as Masters students, they will only be leaving with a Bachelors.

I often question my validity in campaigning for more benefits as I somehow feel like a lesser being, as if I’m not a proper student and this is just a practice year. The stigma and condescending attitude from others is loathsome, especially when you have to explain you narrowly missed being on the course you wanted to do, and as a result have to do an extra year.

There are so many ambitious and passionate people on my course, and a restrictive and unfair system has prevented us from directly doing the course we want. We’re not stupid by any means, most of us were a couple of grades off.

That being said, for all the hate I may have given the foundation year, I still find myself begrudgingly smiling knowing that I am at my first choice uni, even if it’s not quite as I planned. C’est la vie, as they say.