Saturday, 8 September 2012

That Be Bolton!

It’s fast approaching five years since I started university, and roughly two and a half years since I left.
To be a smart alec for a moment:
That means I’ve been gone equally as long as I was there.
If ever was a time to look back with some ‘perspective’ then now’s the time.
It’s curious, because this blog was alive – and lived through – those uni years; yet it goes almost entirely unnoticed. I can’t say why – it’s not as if I was deliberately avoiding talking about university. I guess it comes down to my feelings about the place. I was uncomfortable there, because it wasn’t a good fit for me and me it.
Did I hate my time there? Not every minute of it, but certainly some. The fact remains that I didn’t respect most of my tutors. I could name and shame, and explain my reasons (the original draft of this did just that) but why bother? They’re not going to read this, nor care if they did.
But let me say this: I found them to be utterly foul. They were artists, compromised by a horrible education system at Bolton University. The course leader would rather we focus on PDPs (Personal Development Plans) than do practical work. None of them became a role model to me, or inspired me particularly – save Martin in Film Theory. He was ace, and I looked up to him more than I dared admit then.
I did learn, but not half as much as I expected, or probably should have done. It’s true that I didn’t exactly exert myself in lessons, or in assignments – but I was that uninterested in things there, I didn’t care.
Why did I see it through to year three? A large part of me didn’t want to let my Mum down. I think it was her dream just as much as mine for me to attend university.
I’d also spend £7,000 on the first two years – so I thought to see it through to the end, to make it all mean something.
Ultimately I quit at the last hurdle.
Yep, I failed to hand my dissertation in. Aside from that, everything else was done and dusted. At that point in life, I’d already been promoted to Team Leader at the cinema, and that seemed to matter so much more.
Then there was the fiasco with The Blaze, my radio soap that I was supposed to produce in 2009/10. The university go so involved, and became so controlling, that my first actual ‘important thing’ became less and less fun, less and less as I envisioned, and more and more of a chore.
I can’t remember the straw that broke the camel’s back, but I suspect I just couldn’t pretend anymore, that any of it mattered to me personally. Yes it’s very true that I had a degree coming at the end, but I just didn’t care at the end. I’d been beaten down by the system, and wanted oout.
Would I do it again, if I had a magical time machine? No. I’d go elsewhere, to another university. Maybe Warwick, where my friend Jack studied. Bournemouth was an option too, before I settled on Bolton.
Would I ‘re-sit’ university, or look into doing a Masters? Another no. I’m tired of education. Not the principle of it, of course, but its current poor state. Why study? It’s just feeding greedy universities, who don’t care about you so much as your wallet.
I paint a very gloomy picture of my time of university, and purposely so. They were a horribly drab place, where the Bolton sky always seemed grey; where lectures dragged on, and most were meaningless; where I didn’t make ‘friends’ per se, but allies that lived through the mundane with me.
5 years on, I’m not wearing those rose tinted glasses that most do years later. Nostalgia hasn’t set in, and I doubt it will. Little good came out of my time there (and I include my two uni shorts Eyes Down & Semblance of Norm when I say that) and I, hands up, admit to loving the time I spent concurrent at work way more than university.
The worst time of my life? Well, it’s amongst them.
Thank God I’m two and a half years clean!
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