University greed is damaging freshers’ welfare

Who you live with can, if you let it, influence a great deal of your student life. Flatmates are the first people you will socialise with before braving the rest of campus and actually put yourself ‘out there’ to try various other experiences.

I have a lot of sympathy for the freshers who have been forced to live with older students. Postgraduates, understandably, are more inclined to spend less time discovering the joys of stumbling through York’s cobblestone streets on a weekday night, and more hours learning about the fascinating realm of molecular physics.

You can’t fault postgrads for doing so: they’re paying more for intensive study. It’s the University who are to blame and this is another example of a commercially driven decision to cram more students – whilst hauling in more tuition fees booty – onto courses, and honour the pledge to provide all freshers a place to live on campus.

That promise is flawed. The University clearly overestimates the number of late applicants who will still attempt to apply for accommodation, and most first years will rarely choose to live off-campus.

another example of a commercially driven decision to cram more students onto courses

These particular incoming students allegedly have nothing to fear, as YUSU assures Nouse that colleges are “working hard to integrate” them fully. Yet in the end, integration is really about how much effort individuals make. Remaining unconvinced by even your closest friends’ entreaties to try out something new will lead to a rather dull existence.

It may well prove tiring for the freshers in question – making plans all the time is far more tiresome than being able to just pop next door to your neighbour’s room, who is quite likely to be wasting time on Facebook instead of doing anything which will actually contribute towards their degree.

But, as with most undesirable situations, perhaps it will be ‘character building’, and they’ll evolve into the ‘well-rounded’ person the rest of us dream of becoming.

Sometimes, battling through these situations is what university is all about. Adjusting to adverse circumstances, usually with a less than sympathetic support team at hand (let’s face it, various Welfare officers around campus say they’re ‘there’ but in reality most of us will be too lazy to actually go and visit them), often gives rise to the most memorable experiences.

Whether you can get through them without turning into a heap of anxious nerves is what makes a wealth of difference. These circumstances won’t make for the freshers extravaganza they were expecting.

But having to make a conscious effort to get the best out of every situation will at least allow (force) a few freshers to develop into well-seasoned individuals.


  1. 13 Oct ’10 at 3:33 am

    Wentworth Monster

    “You can’t fault postgrads for doing so: they’re paying more for intensive study.”

    And yet the entire narrative of this article does so.

    This entire piece in one word: bigoted. In two words: bigoted *AND* moronic.

    How about doing some research on the reasons behind integration, before spouting utter rubbish like this? Then you might actually find that trying to bring postgrads into the undergrad setup helps both sets of students.

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  2. 13 Oct ’10 at 1:35 pm

    Wentworth Furby

    I really do not see what is bigoted or moronic about this piece.

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  3. Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

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