Why I think academia is irrelevant

academia

I may be a university student, but I have no real respect for academia. To be frank, I went to university with the full knowledge that I will gain something out of it. Since I do an art course, I’m mainly talking about the contextual studies module, which if you’re preparing to go to uni yourself, you should now this that this is the dry and academic part of your course. I frankly dislike academia, mainly because I see it as stingy and old fashioned, particularly when it comes down to research.

To be clear, they’re okay with you using Internet sources as long as you don’t just use a random blog as a source (incidentally, please don’t use this site as a source for your dissertation, I’m not liable for your carelessness), but they seem to be insistent that you mostly use books. That isn’t necessarily the worst of my problems, but it seems to me like they have no faith in a student’s ability to discern truth from misinformation on the Internet. The only real argument I’ve heard against using online sources is that there might be misinformation.

More to the point, they seem to be the kind of people who have the attitude of either you write the way we want you to, or you fail, and I can say this because I have actually discussed this with a member of staff working at the university, and we basically came to that conclusion looking at the kind of writing language you’re required to use. They’ll tell you its supposed to be about objectivity, but really it seems to me like you’re part of the Borg. Not even a shred of your own individuality is allowed in your writing at all, and yet I’ve heard that certain lecturers recommend that you write your dissertation with emotive, persuasive language. That sounds like they’re in favour of narrative crafting, the total opposite of objectivity.

To me, that’s the biggest problem I have with academia, that it’s stuck in its old and entrenched ways, refusing to change with the times. The most revolutionary aspect of the age of information has been the fact that now anyone who can use the internet has access to any kind of knowledge they want, and they don’t even have to go to university and go into debt to do it. The people in academia hate that. They have long been the ivory tower gatekeepers of information in the days before the information age, and now that the internet has brought about the free flow of information to the public, academia is left unable to stem the flow.

Of course, academia is one the core components of the reigning establishment (the others being the government, the media, and the cultural elite). Their gripes are the same as those of the rest of establishment at large – they are becoming irrelevant, and they can’t stand that. It doesn’t help that they cling to the ideology of cultural Marxism, that postmodern, neo-Marxist nonsense which you can easily use the Internet to disprove if you have at least two brain cells, a cursory knowledge of philosophy, and/or internet connection. If anything, this seems to be making academia (and academics) even more irrelevant and out of touch with the rest of society.

Those at least are my observations. I haven’t necessarily been in university for very long, but I get the sense that I don’t fit in well with academic culture. The way I see it, the kind of academic language taught in university isn’t going to be worth much when you get out of university and try to enter the job market, which as I speak is so oversaturated with degree-holding graduates that I dare say degrees will one day become worthless. All that debt for nothing I guess, and yet I’m supposed to have respect for the irrelevant spectre that is academic culture, which will offer nothing of worth to me unless I plan to become a teacher and/or a professor, thereby entrapping myself within the education system. It seems to me like an outdated system. Instead of encouraging young people to go to university, I think it would be best to encourage them to develop vocational skills and enter the job market. If anything, it may yet be more profitable for the next generation than locking them into the old, outdated academic culture that will continue to fail them in the long run.

Why I never became a prefect in secondary school

When I was a kid, I hated being pushed around by these older teens in black uniforms with white shirts. These students were part of the sixth form, an optional phase of your student life which you can take at your pleasure. What did I hate about the sixth form 7 years ago? Only that they were pushing me and my peers around, telling us where we can and can’t go and what we can and can’t do.

Does this sound familiar? If it does, and you live in the UK, then it should, because in secondary school, every kid will experience the same thing. They get bossed around by the teachers and the sixth form, and they hate them all for it.

But then, the GCSE exams loom over them. Let’s flash back to when I’m 15, and deciding what to do after finishing my GSCE’s in 2010. I chose to go to the sixth form because I felt I wasn’t ready for college life at 16. At that point, I became one of the sixth form, the very people I hated as a kid.

This, of course, leads to another part of the cycle. You go from hating the establishment to serving it, and maybe actually liking it. The school gives anyone in the sixth form the right to:

  • Cut in the queue at lunch hour
  • Walk over to the nearby shop and go to town (so long as they come back for lessons)
  • Go places where you previously weren’t allowed
  • Treat kids like crap

There’s an ugly little word for that, and it’s called “elitism”. Why? They’re effectively placing the sixth form at a greater value than the kids, thereby treating the kids like serfs, something I’ve always hated. That is why, when the time came, I rejected the possibility of being a prefect, because I couldn’t reconcile being a prefect with my own principles.

I’ve always had the belief that kids shouldn’t be pushed around by “grown-ups” just because of their age, and I still do to this day, and I always will. It’s a classic principle of mine from childhood, and to become a prefect, I would have to abandon my principles, something I can’t do. Besides, I feel more like a rebel than a servant of the establishment.

I would have been hypocritical of me to be a prefect, and I doubt that any of my ideas to change the system would be implemented anyway. Besides, I was still fairly popular without being a prefect, and I feel I gained more respect on my own, than I would have as a prefect.

To conclude this post, what I did was not a courageous act. It was based entirely on my moral principles, and the desire to be myself. You can do it too. The moral of this story is to be yourself, no matter what anyone else says. Being myself feels good, so I believe that being yourself will feel good for you too.