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Quote of the Day

FT: “Universities ill-prepared for cuts”

Closing down universities is not straightforward, however. For example, many financially weak institutions have excelled at recruiting students from social groups that older universities have struggled to attract. London Metropolitan University is recovering from financial problems that led it at one point last year to be classified as “at risk” by government officials. Yet it accepted 6,115 black students in 2007-08 – almost as many as the 7,815 black students accepted in total by all 20 research-led Russell Group universities.

The Russell Group is a grouping of the UK’s elite universities  who according to their “Our Universities” page: “are committed to the highest levels of academic excellence in both teaching and research”. To put the figures above in context, “half a million students… [or] one in five of all higher education students in the UK” are enrolled at their universities.

I applied to three of these universities (out of five), was offered a place by two and now attend University of Warwick and this news strikes me in three ways:

  1. Pride: Dude, I’m in a group which I had a 0.016 chance of attending ergo I’m not dumb.
  2. Fear and trembling: I don’t really think I’m that clever either, and my first year, though rewarded by okay results (2:1s), was terrifying. All those essays I have to write, with my atrocious writing style (writing from rough notes without a predetermined structure) plus the realisation that I inexplicably read slower than before does not fill me with confidence for the future.
  3. Determination: Hey, you got into a good university. You can be the first known subject of intellectual diffusion; the spread of cleverness “through random motion from regions of higher concentration [other students, post-grads, lecturers etc] to regions of lower concentration [this head].

Then there’s this one:

  1. Am I a beneficiary of affirmative action? And should that make me guilty, or pleased, or sad.
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