Scrolling through various student publications, it won’t be long before you stumble upon an article that may as well be titled My Uni Is Better Than Your Uni Because I Go Here, with a considerable number of these articles essentially doing little more than listing all the reasons Oxford and Cambridge are so prestigious (essentially all these lists are just variations on the same theme: they’re both really, really old).
While many of these articles are tongue-in-cheek, it’s hard to deny that there’s usually a sense of sincerity behind some of their claims. Though the great wars of YikYak are over, uni supremacy is very much still a topic of conversation. Impact investigates – can this ever be justifiable?
Let’s be honest. We at UoN aren’t exactly innocent of this. Before YikYak burnt to the ground, UoN ‘snobs’ would absolutely slay Trent students – not that Trent Army were innocent in this, either. Talking to some friends, we all realised we looked down to some extent on those going to non-Russel Group unis, deciding that those who went into apprenticeships instead had made the better choice. But we weren’t quite sure why we thought this.
“Going to university without a guaranteed career is seen by many as a waste of time”
With student loans and everything about university inevitably putting students in a tonne of debt, going to university without a guaranteed career post-graduation is seen by many as a waste of money. Sucks to be you, arts students! You’ve wasted you time, your university isn’t in the Top 10 for Graduates list! – and so on.
And while it is easy to scoff at these claims, it’s hard to deny there’s some reasoning behind this. University really does put us all in a tonne of debt, and if some universities lead to greater chances of employment than others, surely these are more ‘worth’ the investment? Indeed, there’s undoubtedly ‘inequality’, so to speak, within these big leagues: Oxbridge and LSE are worlds apart from us mere World Top 100 mortals, and even in UoN those who aren’t ‘posh cunts’ – a.k.a. those whose parents can’t afford to pay for their accommodation – need to take out more student finance and consequently find themselves in more debt than their spoon-fed peers.
“Nottingham only comes 16th in the UK’s graduate employment league”
So next time you’re at home for the holidays and your mate Dave offers to buy your drinks at the pub because he actually works – he may have flunked his GCSE’s but it really is that easy to get a job! – and you’re wondering if it’s all worth it (after all, Nottingham only comes 16th in the UK’s graduate employment league tables), just consider that there’s more to university than that not-so-prestigious-after-all-degree.
And while it’s hard to deny that those who preach the glories of Oxbridge have a point – they really are guaranteed jobs – just remember that this is only because Oxford and Cambridge’s reputation proceeds them, and not because those studying in the Top Two have received a more valuable education than your own.
University provides plenty of opportunities – and perhaps more importantly, time – to try your hand at numerous careers: UoN not only allows students to practice their media skills through Impact, UoN and NSTV, but the city itself is full of museums who are more than happy to take students on as interns, and science students have the opportunity to take placements in world-class institutions.
But while we are singing our own praises, it’s important to remember that such career-based opportunities are exactly what polys are best at – and just as we don’t like to be scoffed at, next time we’re mocking our Trent neighbours, it’s important that we realise we shouldn’t actually scoff at their education, either.
Featured Image ‘IMGP3817’ by Matt Buck on Flickr (licence)
Body Image ‘Oxford..’ by Julie anne Johnson on Flickr (licence)