Becoming more satisfied, 3% at a time.

The new arrivals are here, and they’re already better off than we were. Unknowingly, by agreeing to attend the University of York, we also signed up to holidays filled with blank expressions and ignorance when chatting about our educational institution of choice. They’ve been spared the indignity of being talked down to from students at far more famous locations, with venues for a night out that aren’t a subtle joke. Realistically, that seems unlikely to change imminently. However, it’s definitely nice that some degree of progress has been made. York, often very much forgotten by the world at large has been on the receiving end of some rather positive attention for once. It surely beats getting no attention at all.

Cancer, an enduring concern for everyone in the country, lies fallen at the feet of the brightest biology boffins York can provide. Well, not quite, but we’ve apparently made a start. While not vanquished, progress towards annihilating one of mankind’s most persistent enemies is being appreciated in national newspaper column inches at the moment, and is the kind of thing that boosts positive public perception of an institution. It is a good justification for the increased investment that the university has received from figures such as Bill Gates, and goes to prove that as an institution we’re not slacking off.

And apparently, we’re all 3% more content to be here than last time anyone bothered to check. Now, isn’t that nice? If you close your eyes and concentrate hard, you can actually feel that 3% difference. Doesn’t it feel good? We’re at the 22nd most satisfying university in the country and, according to The Times, the 70th best for quality in the world, 8th in the nation. It certainly makes a welcome change from news reports earlier in the year that saw York slip places in ranking tables, a difference from what was presumed to be the start of a long decline for the place.

At some point you can only hope that people finally take notice of York for all the quality it offers. These red letter days for newsworthy events go to prove that regardless of frequent criticism, this is not the worst university around by a long way. We can take pride in the fact that we’re getting a little bit better every day.

The feel good factor isn’t wholly complete, sure. Those suits in the Heslington Hall ivory tower want to close your bars and put you in half finished accommodation. But some happiness for once makes a nice start to the year. It hopefully inspires us all to try and do a little bit better than we did last year, and enjoy the whole thing more. We would do well to dwell on the positives instead of the negatives.

3 comments

  1. “Cancer, an enduring concern for everyone in the country, lies fallen at the feet of the brightest biology boffins York can provide.”

    Any story claiming a leap forward in scientific, technological or medicinal fields is almost universally false. If you didn’t go on to correct yourself, I’d have been one unhappy bunny. But you did, so I’m not.

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  2. 29 Oct ’09 at 7:19 pm

    The Future of Nouse

    Ben Gascoyne’s gaiety at York student’s ‘becoming more satisfied, 3% at a time’ is delusional.

    I often wonder if it’s really necessary. The poor excuse for accommodation, the grubby kitchen, the mad-rush-to-the-library-only-to-find-that-all-the-books-were-taken-by-the-earlier-seminar-group routine. Not to mention the often dull lecturers and endless reading of journals; the constant strive to find passion and emotion in an undergrad subject where I am only taught to ‘think’ rather than feel. Apparently these are the ‘best years of my life’?

    Yesterday I waited for the purple bus, somewhere between town and the university. A speeding car roared past; three young men shouted ‘black sh*t’ before throwing some chips out of the window in my direction. The soggy chips landed somewhere between my feet and the pavement. Was this supposed to offend me? Racial slurs, by invalids who have probably never left Micklegate or Cliftonmore or Heslington or whatever road they (and their parents’ parents’… and their parents’ parents’) grew up on and lived for the whole of their adult life?

    Several incidents of this kind have happened to me and others while at York. On my first day at York I was similarly sworn at by racists in a moving car as I wheeled my suitcase from the station. Something along the lines of ‘go back home.’ I wanted to yell that I would return to London at the end of term, but the car had sped away. (Why do people always throw insults in motion, it lessens the weight of the insult making the perpetrator look cowardly?)To this day I walk past a white van near Fulford Road, with two neo-Nazi bumper stickers proudly declaring the political stance of its owner.

    Honestly? I care more about the colour of the carpet in the library that I do about these young Nick-Griffins. Or as one blogger, Christiana Mbwake – a politics and European studies graduate from University College London asserted: ‘I considered doing a blog entry outlining my opinion on the entire [Question Time] debacle, [then] I remembered I don’t promote bigots. I just do my utmost to live a way that demonstrates their ideas are ludicrous.’ Yet, something at that moment, staring at the tossed chip on the floor, bemused me. I realised that the issue was more serious that I cared to admit. Am I, as an ‘ethnic minority’ student, really that much of a threat?

    A few thoughts ran through my head. Though due to my heavy workload and the fact that there’s always tomorrow, I will only leave you with one notion. The Times, in their article: ‘BNP Could be given an annual Question Time slot, says BBC chief’ (October 29th 2009) suggests that the British public deserves to hear more of the BNP’s ‘policies’. If poor, ‘indigenous’, victimized Griffin gets another hour on Question Time from his ‘Aunty’ at the BBC, isn’t it right that we all go about asserting our opinions about what we want Britain to be like? Then to take it a step further, actively promoted those opinions?

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  3. 29 Oct ’09 at 7:51 pm

    The Future of Nouse

    Nouse seems to have skipped the whole Question Time debate? In contrast, the Timesonline website had a notably high number of comments on this story. Come on Nouse, keep up.

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