After completing my A levels in Summer 1986, I went to do a two year Polytechnic Diploma course at the (then) Polytechnic of Wales in German, Spanish and Secretarial Studies. These days it’s known as University College Glamorgan. Ideas above its station, I’d say.
I had an absolutely brilliant two years, and loved every minute of being a student. Apart from the actual studying, which was a bit of an inconvenient interruption to my social activities, really.
Nevertheless I passed the course, and although I can say hand on heart that I’ve never had any need to use the German shorthand (yes, really) that I spent so many hours wrestling with, the rest of it has come in pretty useful over the years.
I lived in Halls of Residence for the first two terms, and then moved into a shared house with four other girls – a lesbian animal rights activist, a very strait-laced science student, an Iraqi girl on her first trip to the UK (boy, did she make the most of EVERY opportunity going, and I mean EVERY opportunity), and a hippie flower child. An eclectic bunch – and I’ve just had the fleeting thought that I wonder how they’d describe me?
I really hope that William will go onto Higher Education – but if I’m honest, mostly for the student experience rather than the qualification. Degrees seem to be ten a penny these days, and you can do them in such bloody ridiculous subjects:
BSc (Hons) in Surfing, anybody?
At the risk of being controversial (surely not, Caroline, I hear you all cry), I do think that the proposed new fee structure for Higher Education will weed out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and because it will be more costly, only those who are serious about obtaining a degree will be of a mind to go to University.
This in turn, will hopefully stop Universities offering degrees in subjects like surfing (I could go on – perfumery, dancing) and perhaps make our Higher Education system less of a laughing stock and more of an academic elite, as it was originally designed to be.
Or maybe I’m just old fashioned.