University of Glasgow arches

Are Universities Still Places of Learning?

When one thinks of university students, the image of drunken, rowdy groups of young people staggering home in the early hours of the morning immediately conjures to mind but how fair is this image?

Whilst in the past, it was presumed that a young person would automatically follow the trade of their father or mother, opportunities have become wider and the job market has become increasingly competitive leading to British universities receiving a record number of students from diverse backgrounds in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, nationality and more.

Universities originally became synonymous with academia, which rightly remains the primary focus of such institutions however there are now opportunities to get involved in a range of clubs and societies, it could be the time to learn a different language, take up a new sport, develop a new hobby, join debate team or get involved in student politics.

However are these supposedly ‘enriching experiences’ more of a distraction from the educational institution universities are primarily designed to be?

Presumably to stay at university and leave with a degree in their hand, one has to work hard. Attending and, specifically, being involved in lectures, tutorials, doing the required reading and being expected to do at least some of the recommended reading, taking weekly tests, writing assignments and then finally taking in all of this knowledge from throughout the year and applying it in solely one hour can be extremely stressful.

But just doing your degree and nothing else during your time at university is not looked favourable upon by prospective employers. You’re expected to have a part time job, volunteer, do community service and more.

When the holidays arrive, many students volunteer abroad helping needy children in third world countries or spending time caring for rescued animals in humid countries, often spending all the money they have raised throughout the year in one go.

Whilst others spend their time taking up unpaid internships with prestigious companies in order to build up their CV – spending their hard earned money on travel, accommodation and expenses often in the world’s most expensive cities.

For international students, the hectic lifestyle can be two fold. Many are learning their subjects in their second or even third languages, it’s not as easy for them to go home for the holidays and they spend many festivities alone and isolated.

If these students manage to get involved in other aspects of university life, which takes a lot of genuine hard work, then they should be commended for it.

Universities remain to be centres of higher education and academia but the more fuller experience now on offer is a strength and not a weakness.

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Naina Bhardwaj

Naina Bhardwaj

Naina Bhardwaj

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