I took my daughter to university for the start of her first year on Sunday. Haven't heard much from her since; they obviously drag all new kids into a room and say "right, whatever you do, don't call home - you're an adult now, you don't need them anymore." That of course is all very well, right up until I highlight the fact that I'm still paying and guess what, both as a parent and as a taxpayer I've got a few questions.
We can start with why the academic year starts in the second week in October. What is that all about? It's no surprise that the US universities went back a full month ago. Of course, one might suspect that the date is a matter of tradition, gleaned from the difficulty in travelling long distances to places of learning in times past. Actually, it's probably got more to do with universities holding conferences in September for revenue. Ramping up fees with no measure of quality control from the institutions which is commensurate with fees charged is a recipe for mediocrity. The universities are on easy street and it's high time they joined the rest of society and learned what value means.
Of course, students do bugger all in their first week. At the express encouragement of their new seat of learning the priority appears to be to go out on organised nights and get trashed every night........ "2 shots for 1," being a fairly typical theme, sometimes in fancy dress, sometimes not. It all shouts to me an vacuum of confidence and conviction in the task in hand...... that would be learning.
So, just as my boys will be heading home for half term, my daughter will be apparently sobering up for her first few lectures. I'm just so happy that I've spent the last eighteen years preparing her to be messed up and around by higher seats of learning that appear mostly to have lost the plot.
The other day I watched a programme on Channel 4 called "Fighting on the Frontline." It followed a platoon from A Company, 2 Scots, (previously the Royal Highland Fusiliers) and is well worth watching. At my daughters age I was a Jock in A Company of the same battalion. The programme left me feeling nostalgic and a wee bit sad that the years are rolling by but proud to have an association with a battalion that has lost none of it's fighting spirit and aggression.
They obviously kept the PR dollies well away from the Jocks given it was as open, honest and funny a programme as I've seen about Helmund. The sub titles were over the top though, absolutely no need for those at all.
Thinking about it, my views of long haired students haven't much changed since those days to now..................