Well, I’ve survived the first term! Although I don’t think the term ‘term’ is meaningful any more as the year is divided into two semesters, and semester 1 doesn’t end until January 20!
I’ve really enjoyed it. The course has been challenging, with something to be read, written and critiqued every week. The only piece of work I’ve had assessed so far, Girls on Trains, I received a ‘distinction’ for (a ‘first’ in old money). I’ve got three more pieces due by January 24. Unlike my undergraduate days, and because we’re off to New Zealand for three weeks today, I’ve pretty much finished the work. No last minute panic, unlike the old days!
How have things changed? I think that students nowadays are necessarily harder working due to the financial pressures of Student Loans. In addition a significant proportion of the student body has a job of some sort to augment their loans. I don’t have official figures (not sure they exist), but I reckon that more than fifty per cent of students have a job.
I also think that students don’t socialise as much, or rather, as often. In the seventies I wasn’t alone by any means in going out virtually every night. Now it seems to be confined to Monday and Wednesday nights. Fridays and Saturdays are generally dead as far more students go home for the weekend than in the seventies
However, when they do socialise, they socialise with a capital S! I’ve been introduced to the delights of pre-drinking and Socials by the football club. The Union stays open until 3 am on Mondays and Wednesdays, much, much later than it did in our time. And with snakebite (cider and lager with a splash of blackcurrant (!) – the preferred drink of most of the lads) at £1.20 a pint, I think they actually drink more than we used to, although I don’t think Steve Trenner’s record is under any threat whatsoever!
Another big, and positive, difference is that today’s students are much more engaged in charity work. I suppose we would have been as engaged back then, but it just wasn’t on our radar. Today not a week goes by when at least one club or team run an event to raise money for those less fortunate. Good on them. I believe that in the last academic year around £63,000 was raised and I suspect we’re on track to beat that this year
Lastly, and not as positive, is the growth in numbers of cars on campus. In the seventies it was very rare for a student to have a car. Nowadays there are so many that car parking spaces are subject to a ballot. Not only that, if a student is successful in the ballot the pass costs £100! As far as I know there isn’t any extra parking space now than back in the day, so I don’t know why Keele have to charge for a parking permit
That’s it from me for a few weeks as New Zealand beckons. Next term starts on January 16. Can’t wait!