It would have been impossible to avoid the news in the UK of rising fees for Universities with a maximum limit of around £9000. The protests which were hijacked by those only interested in causing a scene, who the media then focused on, portraying the protests as simply the cause of a decaying moral sensibility amongst the youth.
This was when all possible protests against this ridiculous policy were silenced, and no more was to be heard of it.
Why they were implemented
It is important to separate the reasons given to us, and the reasons we see for this, which are always more trustworthy.
One of the justifications for this policy was that too many people were obtaining degrees, which resulted in a loss of their value for employers, and a loss of them being any kind of separation from those who work hard and those who don’t.
I will go on to dissect this shortly; however, what is notable is that the conservatives decided that raising the price of the degrees and therefore making them accessible to far fewer people would be a good way of giving degrees to those who deserve them.
The value of a degree
Before coming to any conclusion on which to act, it is important to understand exactly what the value of a degree is and how it should be valued. A degree is simply an education in many ways, and I do not think their importance lies in how employers use them, but rather who wants it and why.
A degree is one path that people choose in their life towards attaining self-realisation, confidence, a working ethic, and many other attributes, and it is taken by those who either want to improve their likelihood of finding employment or simply because they enjoy learning.
Why increasing the fees was wrong
The idea that the value of degrees had to be returned, for arguments sake, let’s say is a valid one. However, why making them so expensive that many people could no longer afford them has no reasonable or rational explanation. If this was the case, why not simply make universities more difficult to get into based on individual merit, as in a hard-working ethic, intelligence, and a driven character. Then if there is a question of who deserves a degree at all, then it is not based on wealth but on character, which seems a far more fitted solution to a non-existing problem.
This kind of action does lead people to be judged by their wealth, and all opportunities they may want to take are determined by this, which is simply wrong.
This leads to a society becoming divided and neglecting, which we have already seen signs of, most notably in the frustration which arose in the success of the far right party UKIP. An educated society is a good society, but more important than that is a society which makes opportunities possible rather than impossible.
University is more than just an academic pursuit, it is a drastic change of lifestyle for the majority of students who are starting there. The primary reason for this is the fact that it is generally the first time that many students move out of home and live alone. This is a fairly big change, and with it comes responsibility and adaptations which are part of a big learning curve.
This encompasses both the process of making friends in a new environment, and the challenge of getting along with unknown housemates in the first year in a variety of possible situations.
The first priority for new students is creating a network of friends, which may actually be more difficult than you think, as university provides a very different atmosphere than other places, and where many students are in a blind rush of desperation to grab the opportunities that social life at university offers.
However, making friends is a fairly natural thing, and learning to find who can be a good friend is useful in life, but not altogether a new experience for those who have made friends throughout their life, only for those who have had the same circle of friends at the same school in the same neighbourhood all their life.
As I have briefly mentioned, socializing at university can mean dealing with problems that may arise. The most likely place for this, and the most delicate are at home where first year students will be living with strangers. The most common cause of arguments or just simply disagreements is over the state of cleanliness and tidiness, especially in the kitchen where concerns per hygiene can vary from person to person.
Living away from home for the first time, many students will not feel it necessary to wash any dishes up, and will avoid the responsibility at all time. This can clearly create some problems and friction, and for the person who finds them self being bothered by this, getting the person to clean their dishes can be a pretty difficult task. The best thing to remember is to always be considerate and understanding.
Complete financial independent, at least as far as choosing how to spend it for some students, is a fairly new freedom for many. Especially with the thousands of pounds of loans paid straight to the student, they could find themselves with a large amount of money on their hands. Many prove themselves to be too tempted by the prospect of partying and drinking to put much money aside for food and other costs, and is the reason why many students insist that they are broke when in fact just prefer to put their money to alcohol rather than other things.
In England food can be pretty expensive, and while drawing up a detailed written financial plan is not altogether necessary, having some kind of idea of expenses on essentials is a bare minimum. However, food is not the only expensive thing that money needs to go to, but also travel, fun, and accommodation.
Accommodation is an expense that that many students’ guarantors will cover, but for those who don’t get this benefit, making ends meet can be a challenge that will be overcome with some adaptation and frugality.
This may be more of a challenge to some students, but to others it may be a fun thing to do or just a continuation of normal activities from before university. Regardless, the main challenge may actually having to cook so often every day and then clean up after yourself in what may become a tediously repetitive chore that we have to so for our bodies, or it could be the struggle of making something which tastes nice rather than borderline edible.
However, the learning process of getting to grips with cooking does mean that later in life not only will you know how to cook, maybe even very well, but also do so economically.
Going to university can be a daunting prospect, and not getting involved in all the possible extracurricular activities can be a regrettable outcome for anyone who either feels out of their depth or self-conscious, or just a bit too lazy to start them and then keep up the routine.
Many of these societies offer some rare opportunities which outside of university may be difficult to find, and expensive. This is just one thing that should be an encouragement to anyone to make the most of the opportunities.
Expanding on from what I mentioned previously, societies for the basis for activities that are outside of the class, so basically the non-academic side of university. These can range from the basic sports such as football or rugby, to more adventurous activities such as rock climbing or caving, to the bizarre and banal societies such as a pirate society, and everything in between, including academic pursuits such as debating.
It is these societies that can serve to bolster up your experience at university, enriching it and helping you grow. This is what university is all about; new experiences and new knowledge, and focusing solely on the academic side of university limits the experience unnecessarily.
Societies are a good way to meet people with similar interests, and are a likely place to meet friends if you haven’t found anyone yet. Although people may be in the same class as you, they may be very different. Whereas if you like rock climbing, it is easier to meet people that you can share that similarity with, more so if it is something a bit more obscure.
It may be hard to encourage yourself to go, but having been to university I would strongly recommend making the effort as the new experiences in new activities are a great way to enjoy yourself and meet active and interested fun people.
Of course there is no necessity to socialize within societies or class, but organizing your own things to do is just as good. After having met some friends, enjoy the freedom that university offers and make the most of activities in or around the city or town you live in. this is another way which is just as good as anything else to have fun and get to know the area you live in and unlock its potential with regard to any activities that are available.
University provides an environment where people will be around at all times of the day, which has many benefits but also some challenges. Not only dealing with these challenges in the best way that you can, but also making the best of the new social possibilities are important life lessons which can put you in very good stead for the future. Many of the situations that you may find yourself in with people may also be new to you and require some effort to resolve
In the first year accommodation is provided for you which means that you will not have to go through the trouble of finding a house, but also means that the people you will be loving with are strangers and may or may not be likable or even considerate, which means that all the possibilities of some trouble are there.
The main cause of friction in the house is a lack of consideration, whether it be with regards to cleanliness in the kitchen or bathroom, or any other shared space, or with regards to noise and people, or something more serious such as stealing which is rare. Handling these situations can require patience, sometimes a lot, to resolve in a peaceful way without any upset; because even those who make the mess can be upset when you ask them to tidy up!
Other problems such as creating a lot of noise and mess due to having a party that did not have the approval of the whole house can be bad. Although you may want to have fun and don’t want to listen to someone complaining of noise on a Friday or Saturday night, these are still fairly frequent occurrences and at the least someone will have to put their foot down to get someone to clean up the mess afterwards.
Going to classes constitutes for fairly little amount of time with regard to the amount of hours there are in a week, depending on the course of course, which means that not only is there much time for any problems similar to those mentioned above, which would any be under the eye of the teacher, but also that there is not much contact with students in the class.
The minimum contact is going to be in the necessary group assignments which will mean that you will have to work with students that you probably do not know in order to get a task done. This can be a bit more demanding than you think, and especially in the first year when people are not so committed to their work, following up on them to get their work can be a bit more of a challenge, and making sure that they don’t make you lose marks because of their laziness can be an occurrence.
The other possibility of any friction comes in the form of some very opinionated people, two of which can come to banging heads over a certain issue which may be contentious and serious. It is important to remember that classes at university should be based around respect; respect for the others and their views, and respect for the environment in which everyone should feel comfortable and confident, which will anyway lead to more interesting classes.
If you already know what profession you want to go into and make a career of, going to university may not be the best decision for you. A degree is falling out of favour with many employers for a number of reasons, and those with experience and dedication shown from a younger age are preferred, by some. Not going to university is certainly cheaper, but what are the alternatives and how good are they?
Non graduate training scheme
This is essentially the same as a graduate scheme except for those who have just finished their A levels, and is offered by most companies that offer graduate schemes; in fact, the two are often put together because graduates have to learn the same things anyway.
This is a good option in getting your foot into some big companies with good reputations. The idea is that they will train you in return for a few years of your work. A sufficient salary is given depending on the location; however, it is not as high as a graduate scheme would pay, understandably. The consolation is that you would not have the same debt on your shoulders.
This is a similar idea but focuses on professions which are not really covered at university. Apprenticeships are usually offered to those practicing trades and crafts such as plumbing, electricity, carpentry and other similar professions.
A career in one of these areas offers good employment prospects, and is far cheaper and quicker to get than obtaining a degree. If you want to go into one of these areas then it is worth thinking about this beforehand to avoid going to university then coming out and doing the same thing. That would be a very costly decision in terms of money and time.
Straight into work
Some companies will offer a short period of training and then a contract without any degree, because they simply don’t need them, only a period of time to learn about the job: what it does, how it works, and the other factors. A career in things like estate agency can be stable and successful, although alternatives right now are probably more prudent.
In this case there is not much limit to what you decide to do, but may mean approaching a company directly to try and reach an agreement specific for you, however there are many jobs for which just handing in a CV is the only requirement.
This is perhaps the best position for anyone to be in, and for the most part the work you put in is in direct correlation with the reward you get out, which in this case more than others may not simply be money. In all likelihood, choosing this path will not be hugely financially rewarding straight away, though that is dependent on what you do and how you do it.
Being self-employed can be limitless as far as money is concerned, and many of the most successful people have started this way – without degrees. Part of the reason why it can be so successful is because it can be something you can be passionate about, and that is the key to success and happiness.