SU President Micky Armstrong

It heads towards the end of term and finalists look towards the future, for those of you that have been effected by the AUT’s action, the future may seem to be in jeopardy. Let me take this opportunity to reassure you that the University has taken vital steps to ensure that you face as little disruption as possible. Although not orange the future is bright.

The action the AUT has taken has made me reflect on the work that the Union does. 300 people turned out to vote whether or not we support the action that the AUT has taken, yet 3,000 people signed our save the bars campaign. Does this really mean that more people care about their campus bars than their degree? Do students come to university to study, learn, and get a degree or do students come to University to get pissed and go to Ziggys? I know what I did and I know what I wish I did.

As we leave York I assume that many people will feel as I do, there will always be a place for York in our lives. Be it a distant memory or as an active member of the alumni. There is something about our university that will stay with us. Yes we live in a concrete monstrosity, yes we never want to see wildfowl again, but deep down we will always be proud of what we have given the University and what the University has given us.

Just take Roses for example; there was so much pride in the York teams that competed in Roses. Although we did not win we were successful in the way that we performed and participated. I would like to thank all the teams and all the players who put in effort over that weekend. We were incredibly close to pulling off an away victory-something very rare in the history of the competition. I would also like to thank Nik and all the AU exec that helped run the weekend so successfully.

During the weekend I had a chance to speak to our vice-chancellor and the vice-chancellor and chancellor of Lancaster, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how all three revelled in the competition of the weekend. That’s my point, no matter how much we dislike the University at times, or complain about this, that, and the other, compared to Lancaster we will always be better. WE are the University of York.

As the finalists move on to pastures new I wish you all the best, and for those who have the privilege of remaining here I say (with a hint of envy) enjoy your time, you will miss it when its gone.

If anybody is worried about the future of their degrees please contact me at [email protected]

One comment

  1. As a graduate from yester-year, I’d like to agree with much of what Micky says in this article. It’s not until you actually leave university, particularly one as close-knit as York, until you realise just how much of a valuable experience it has been and how much of an effect it has had on you as an individual.

    With regard to the question of whether people come to university to get a degree, or simply to have fun, the answer is the same as it’s always been: both. Most will make a conscious decision to prioritise one over the over, and quite often this will change with time and the nature and number of the friendships that people maintain. Whatever people’s intentions, however, York has the habit of finding you something else to be doing other than your degree. I may have missed the class of degree that I set out for, but looking back I consider the knowledge, experience and confidence (not to mention friends) that I gained outside my course as being far more important than anything I could have possibly been taught in a lecture theatre.

    York is unique, and I still miss it. So much so, I’m coming to Woodstock this weekend no matter how far I have to travel.

    To those still with time left at York:

    As much as we hear about current twenty-somethings being the iPod generation (Insecure, Pressured, Over-taxed and Debt-ridden) and how stressed out students are from the minute they take their 11-pluses onwards, you will almost certainly never have as much freedom to try something new as you do while at university. The opportunities available to people are limited only by their imagination and the amount of effort they are willing to put in, and I dare say even Ziggys’ has something to teach us. Find something that interests you and get involved. If it doesn’t exist, create it.

    The national press have been commenting for some time that the number of graduates unable to find graduate employment is not only due to unrealistic government ambitions for tertiary education, but due to employers’ concerns about recent graduates’ inability to form opinions, make decisions, communicate their ideas effectively and thus implement change. I believe that life at York goes a lot to go against this apparent trend: with one of the highest ratios of societies to students in the country, nationally-acclaimed student media, an active AU and vibrant Students’ Union, there is so much more to be involved in than simply sitting (or sleeping) through lectures.

    They say one person can’t make a difference; grudgingly, I’d probably have to agree that that’s true in the workplace and in politics, especially if you’re seen as young and inexperienced. That’s not true at York uni, however; the rate at which people come and go alone means that it takes less time than you might think to make you an authority on something, and provides ample scope to take something and make a change for the better. And although worthwhile ends in themselves, using society or Union involvement to demonstrate your enthusiasm and pro-activity can only serve to make you more employable. Only your own apathy can hold you back.

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