Category Archives: what if

University- a hoax business?

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Sitting down once again to try and wade my way through more heavily worded critiques of a variety of literature I care very little for, I once again ask myself why, at the age of 18, I decided that a university education in Modern Languages was for me.

At that time, they said “Go study languages, so many doors will just open for you, the world will literally be your oyster”. Why is it then that four years later, I am very tempted to return to my school and demand my money back? Is it the illusion I was sold that after 3 years of intensive language training and a year abroad I would be a fully fledged linguist, able to communicate with all manner of people in any business setting? Already fully certain that I want to work in the ski industry, I have become astutely aware that whilst my good conversational level of French and German will almost certainly come in handy, the nearly £4000 a year I have paid to stress about essays which account for 70% of my degree, almost certainly will not.

The thing is, we are sold this illusion that “university will prepare you for the wider world”. We will develop analytical skills, partake in clubs and societies, become fluent in multiple fluent languages (insert other skill here) and employers will be begging for us to work for them, well maybe not quite.

At the moment, I think I am on track for a 2:2, not something that I am especially proud to admit, given the fees I am paying. However I cannot understand why I am paying approx. £150 a week for lessons which simply do not inspire. Is it my own fault for not being passionate enough about my subject? Or is it not understanding the product I was sold before signing the contract to buy it? The impression I was under, when I signed up for a Modern Languages Studies BA was that I would be studying LANGUAGES-the key word in my degree. Whilst  understood that there would be elements of essay writing, I did not quite realise that it would only make up for one third of the entire annual credits.

These “content module” credits are supposedly meant to be a form of cultural enrichment, but whilst it is all very well and good to know about issues such as immigration, gender power struggles and 19th century poetry, it is not teaching me about “real life” culture in France for when I go and visit.

On my year abroad last year, I was not equipped with the conversational etiquette needed for a casual conversation with French people my own age, nor, as a matter of fact with Germans. We were not warned that generally French people are not quite xenophobic, but a little hard to mix with. Breaking into a friendship group is the hardest thing you can try and do as a foreigner, and when your starting line is “how do you feel about gay marriage” or “what do you think about the current political climate of Europe at the moment” you are going to be considered a bit of a dick.

What I am trying to say, in a rather roundabout way, is that given the chance to study language again, I would just have spread my wings, gone abroad, and worked in a bar, whilst actually earning money and learning social skills. Throwaway the “flashy” BA in French with German and become an electrician instead. People need an electrician or plumber more than they need an analysis of Baudelaire.

If I had a superpower…

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Back when I was at secondary school, I was OBSESSED with Heroes. Generally any sort of storyline which involves people with superhuman abilities has always kept me fascinated and entertained and I have always wondered if ever I was to be landed in a sweetie shop situation where each plastic tub contained a different power and I could only choose one, which one I would choose.

Flying- This is often the one that most children dream of, who wouldn’t want to be able to go anywhere they wanted in the world, getting the full bird’s eye view and spitting on their enemies. It has been pretty highly rated, but then if you’re not very aware of things like turbulence and vortexes then you might come to a crunchy end.

Telepathy- I’ve always kind of wanted to be able to do this, as I can be very socially awkward so it could always help me to say the right thing. Problem is, if someone is thinking something you’d rather not hear, or if you discovered a big secret, what’s to stop me from interfering with things that I shouldn’t meddle in?

Moving objects with my mind (or telekinesis as Heroes calls it)- this would be awesome, but I can only think of a few times when it would be useful. 1) When the T.V remote is too far away to reach 2) a replacement for general laziness. I think that having “telekinesis” would just result in me getting really fat and lazy.

Super-speed- I think this one appeals the most, however it does require being a bit more coordinated than me, and I’m also not really built for speed, also, how many calories would you burn off? Wouldn’t you get a stitch from running really fast?

Ability to heal- This is kind of boring, but also really cool since I seem to get into a lot of accidents. Though if I knew that every time I fell, I would instantly regenerate, I would definitely part-take in many more extreme sports.

For now though, I think it’s time I stopped fantasizing about the impossible and maybe just tried to perfect a talent a little closer to home. For 2013, I want to become good at just one thing. Time to start taking guitar lessons perhaps?