Amazing. Champagne time.
Amazing. Champagne time.
Well, dear readers, something awful has happened, and the Telegraph seems to have acquired my email adress — I assume from UCAS — and has sent me “The Source”, which is apparently their guide to how to have fun during Freshers week, and indeed during one’s first year at university. Whilst this seems well intentioned enough, I can’t imagine anything more hilarious. The Telegraph? Telling us how to have FUN during Freshers week? I shouldn’t fucking think so!
If anyone’s had a similar email, I can put you out of your misery, and exclusively reveal the Telegraph’s top tips for Freshers week! (I fear that I have reached a certain point in my middle-class upbringing where I’m now able to imitate the tone of the Torygraph and its octogenarian readership a bit too well — and yes, you all know the voice to read these bullet points out in)
Just realised that publishing this on the eve of A level results day is probably pretty insensitive timing, but trust me, I sympathise, I can only look ahead the next twenty-four hours, forget the six weeks until Oxford’s Freshers Week begins.
Anonymous asked: your insurance is sheffield isn't it? what accom did you apply for? :D
It is indeed, though I forgot for a while, and thought it was Nottingham. I think my accommodation was in the Endcliffe Village.
Apologies for all the uncertainties, but I can tell you one thing for sure: come hell or high water, I will not be in Sheffield in September. Oxford and Sheffield require the same grades, and thus, if I miss one, I miss both.
Antique print of the main hall at Wadham College, Oxford, 1847
Anonymous asked: what course do you want to do/are doing at uni? :)
[If I get the grades] In October I’ll be going up to Wadham College, Oxford, to read Modern History.
Having spent the best part of an hour on the phone to Student Finance England this morning, talking to various chipper Geordie bastards, I thought I’d share the intelligence I’ve gained – or perhaps lost – in talking to them. Now you must be thinking that’s a long time to be on the phone to someone that you’re not either directly related to, or having sex with, but let me explain. I spent most of that hour in some kind of absurd, through-the-looking-glass, Orwellian loop.
“Can you refer my application to your IT department?”
“No, we don’t have an IT department; you’ll have to submit a paper application”
“Well, can I hear that from your supervisor?”
“I don’t have a supervisor”
Look, cheery Geordie bastard Mickey, it is a Friday morning; I am not in the mood for being lied to. You obviously have a supervisor; I’m hardly supposed to believe that this is Student Finance Paris 1968, or Occupy Darlington that I’m on the phone to. If I’ve learnt anything about Student Finance in the past months, it’s that Student Finance is a deeply hierarchical, bureaucratic and Stalinist organisation; in fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s the sole surviving example of Stalinist doctrine in action. So please don’t lie – you obviously do have a supervisor, and he has a supervisor, and so on; and I won’t stop until I have Ed bloody Lester, CEO of the Student Loans Company on my speed dial.
“Can you put your supervisor on the phone?”
“I can’t put him on to the phone to tell you the same thing I’ve told you.”
“Can you please put your supervisor on the phone” [don’t make me play the complaint card, really, don’t.]
“I’m afraid all I can do is cancel your application and you can then submit a form PN1”
“But I’ve already inputted all the information into your computer, and don’t try and fob me off, because I bloody know that form PN1 is 35 freaking pages, so can’t you get your IT department to look at it?”
“No, all you can do is submit a paper form”
“Well I’d like to hear that from your supervisor”
“I don’t have a supervisor who can talk to you”
Alright, alright; you and your Stalinist organisation have won. I fucking surrender, just cancel my application and I’ll whore myself out on the streets to raise the requisite £9,000 a year in fees. I give up trying to talk to your sometimes existing doublethink supervisor.
“Well I’ll cancel your application then”
“Yes, just do that”
“Anything else I can help you with?”
“Bloody hell! NO!” [Else? As if you’ve helped me with anything except creating myself an extra few hours meaningless labour?]
“Well have a nice day then”
FUCKING FUCKS! I WILL NOT HAVE A NICE DAY! I NOW HAVE TO PRINT OUT AND COMPLETE THIRTY FUCKING FIVE PAGES OF BUREAUCRATIC IDIOCY ABOUT ME AND EVERYONE I’M EVEN VAGUELY RELATED TO IN ORDER TO GET SOME MONEY FROM YOUR ORGANISATION, SO I CAN CONTINUE PAYING YOUR SALARY FOR THE REST OF MY WORKING LIFE YOU FUCKING GEORDIE CUNT. SO DON’T PRETEND YOU’RE DOING ME A FAVOUR
Mickey from Darlington, if I ever find you, I will make a jacket from your skin…
Radcliffe Camera, Oxford
One of next year’s libraries, I suppose. Lucky me. Rather intimidating, really.
If I ever get to Oxford, it will have been in spite of Student Finance England and their persistent motherfuckery. Words cannot express how angry their advisers and their Stalinist website make me.
Anonymous asked: Yeah, I agree with you, and she would have perhaps earned a little more integrity if she'd waited until after a decision. I suppose all 'top' universities have to have an element of academic elitism about them - but, unfortunately, this can get tied up with class elitism as well!
Well essentially I would argue that class is the biggest determining factor in educational outcomes. If you look at children from quite a young age, those with middle-class, educated parents tend to have a vocabulary and a reading age that is significantly ahead of their classmates from working class families (I read somewhere that by 5, a child with graduate parents is 18 months ahead, educationally, of a child whose parents do ‘working class’ jobs). The middle class children, pretty much irrelevant of what kind of school they attend.
Yes, some people break out of that, and some people study hard, but this is a class based disadvantage that takes hold well before Oxford interviews or any such things. I think it’s David Mitchell who said that ‘the class bias doesn’t occur in the 20 minute Oxford interview, but in the 18 years that precede it.’