What does it mean to be a University student in 2017?

What does it really mean, to be a University student in 2017? I’m asking myself this question as a Uni student in 2017.

[x_pullquote type=”right”]No one wants a Doctor who just passed their Medical degree looking at your test results and taking a well aimed stab in the dark[/x_pullquote]As the words spill out of my mouth, I can already feel myself drowning, labelled yet another awkward and jaded twenty-something. But… What does it actually mean? I had my first crack at completing a degree in 2009, but at the time, I just felt as though the formal education process just wasn’t really for me. But now, here I am, back having yet another go and this time really striving to better myself in a myriad of ways. But… upon returning to campus this year, I feel like something had really changed. The feeling on campus is different. Instead of students embracing the minimal time they have left to really relish in their collection of minimal responsibilities, students are taking a different path. The bar visits between classes, general frivolity or embracing the gig going life on campus is just not the done thing. In fact, it’s almost frowned upon.

Study first. Life second.

Student emphasis is now so strictly focused upon the results of the particular time period time spent studying, rather then the overall experience gained whilst studying. It’s so much more about the process of hitting the books, week in, week out, on the grind, to rehash the required information. What of the days/afternoons/nights spent at Bar on the Hill? Or the notion of P’s get degrees? Are we as a society putting far too much pressure on students to simply churn through their studies as quickly and as diligently as possible?

[x_pullquote type=”left”]Between students letting loose and cutting sick to the point where they forget that they actually attend university[/x_pullquote]Now I am in no way saying that minimal effort should be the baseline or benchmark but… if HD’s really do get degrees, what time is left for anything else? What of the well rounded education process? The notion of striving for something outside the wrote-learned confines of the traditional benchmarks of success? The pressures are continually building and almost stacking up against students as their work hours get longer, the personal and professional standards are suddenly much higher, and priorities change. Holidays surely should not be the only time to be alive.

Is the HD student really more desirable within the workforce compared to the student who was able to accurately balance all areas of their life, gaining all of the experience and opportunity they can get their hands on? Surely there has to be a place where we can meet in the middle. Between students letting loose and cutting sick to the point where they forget that they actually attend university, and the HD student who refused to work or sacrifice any time out of their day for any extra curricular activities, let alone learn how the workplace actually functions. I vote we return to a place of balance.

I mean, of course there are some exceptions. No one wants a Doctor who just passed their Medical degree looking at your test results and taking a well aimed stab in the dark — figuratively speaking. But…a science student who can communicate and network as effectively as their more liberal peers, or a teacher willing to think and educate outside the box. Even more so, imagine if Communication students took the Hunter S. Thompson approach to chasing a story (ok maybe not that extreme), or the Creative Industries student with a larger world view, set on the intent of a vision with the aim of creating wonderful content. Students who can balance a variety of tasks and opportunities to choose the best way to achieve the task, or tasks at hand. That’s who I want to work with and that’s who I aspire to be.

So what does it mean to be a Uni student in 2017? That’s what I’d love to know. Are we becoming a bookwork and results driven society as opposed to relishing the experiences we are only offered during fleeting times in our lives? Or perhaps am I simply living the Peter Pan (syndrome) dream of wishing to extend my youth with every passing day. Either way, surely balance is key. After all, life isn’t all that hard, right?

Written by Laura Kebby

I write words about talented people doing talented things, and translate chatter by putting pen to paper.

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