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THE STUDENT CON GAME

The deftly tones of the grand organ drown the theatre in a tribunal concerto. The atmosphere is palpable. A sense of nobility fills your body and you are proud that this momentous occasion is a result of your hard work.

Graduates are seated in the centre of the action; bodies covered down to their feet in their signature Hogwarts gowns – colour coded in ranking of their degrees importance of course. Teamed with an inexcusably immoderate oxford hat, like a student ready to be initiated into Gryffindor, you get the sense that Mr Potter may appear at any moment.

Yet the only magic taking place here is deception, the magical illusion of ceremony and reward, that will make the worries of a £50,000 debt and a high risk of unemployment, miraculously disappear.

Throughout your time in high school and college you’ve been fed the same line, “The more educated you are, the more successful you will be”.

This same line has now become a deep embedded ideology institutions have been repeating for decades, which has dramatically changed the peoples general behaviour towards education. Now, education has been deemed the only way to create access, opportunity and career success.

The reason why?

Well, it’s our societies obsession with meritocracy and its adept association with education and class. To be educated can only be proven by merit i.e GCSE’s, degrees, PhD’s, NVQ’s………..and the list goes on. You are taught that by obtaining such merit, doors into higher paying careers and specialist industries will open.

A UK Bachelor’s degree:

Average Cost: £50,000

Result: Certificate

Pro: Education

Con: No guarantees of employment in your chosen field of study or preparation for the working environment.

Introducing: THE STUDENT CON GAME.

After basking in the afterglow of your graduation; its the moment you discover your new reality of unemployment. You solidify your place in an overcrowded job market and realise there are more graduates than there is jobs.

But don’t expect this suprise to reveal itself until you receive your degree.

With a lack of opportunities in your specialism, you discover you’ve been conned. All of a sudden your degree isn’t enough. At this stage, you recognise the value of hands on experience is held to a higher standard, than your shiny certificate.

This is when you contemplate whether your £50k loan was worth the paperwork?

Not only are you competing with graduates, and the general public, but internal employees are applying for the same positions. They may not have the education, but good companies will invest in educating their current staff to degree level.

But don’t expect to be forewarned of these formalities whilst in university, because who knows…………..you might just end up leaving.

Just imagine the disappointment of the 50% of students who don’t even end up working in their field of study? (Independent UK, 2014)

Unless you have paid for your degree outright or have financial support, debt is a result of why you may probably fall into a different industry. As higher education comes with a cost that you now have an obligation to at least try to clear before you die.

How are students to know that despite their dedication to receiving this degree, they may end up choosing between their career and a job?

Years later, you yourself will go on to find truth in the latter. Fashion graduates in the insurance industry, biomedical graduates working in property management firms, law graduates working full time in restaurants, I mean the list goes on. University is nothing but a blurry memory to these individuals who discovered a passion in different industries.

At this point, university just seems like an expensive investment you make to justify that time in your twenties where you get to answer the question:

‘What the heck do I really want to do with my life?’

But my question is, is that answer worth £50,000?

Game of Thrones: The Commuter Edition

DISCLAIMER: Despite the title, this article is not a direct reference to the TV programme.

07:45am

It all starts one step behind the yellow line – literally a line between you and accidental death by tube.

The doors slide open, and frantically the commuters burst onto the train, darting crazily into different directions. The grey haired fox pushes past you to slide comfortably into the seat you had your eye on. You scowl.

Already you’ve been cheated and this wont be the last time.

If you are new to London, you will learn very quickly that it’s easy to get left behind when boarding public transport. You end up in a group called, ‘The standers’. Their usually the newbies like yourself. The capitals rookie re-locator’s, who get lost in the chaos and settle for a standing space in the aisle.

You can spot them a mile off. They are jumpy, easy to push over and suffer from a mild case of PTSD from their first commute. So please be patient with them when you tell them to move down. Know they have heard you, and their pause or minion like shuffle movement, is just a generic malfunction caused by their untreated PTSD. (And this is not a joke)

In fact during your first few weeks in the concrete jungle, these are your first commuting friends in London, as they are the ones who will help squeeze you onto a train when they backwards reverse their backpacks right into your stomach!

Every morning and every evening without fail you will start to notice the same faces. They will stand in the same spot, pick up the same newspaper and will stand on the same side of the platform.

Introducing ‘the regulars’.

Unlike ‘the standers’, these individuals are the top primates of the jungle. The top of the food chain, the ultimate contenders, who have fought this fight nearly all of their lives. This is their habitat and they will display their position of hierarchy by who sits first and who stands.

They display their position by offering a seat one of ‘the standers’ have been guarding, to a lady behind them.

Apparently, they were more in need, despite the lack of visual ailments which would say otherwise.

You bite your tongue and say nothing.

The game starts.

Grabbing onto the handles above, staring at the weakling below, the feeling of being cheated comes rushing back and all of a sudden you need to sit down.

You stare at the person seated below you intently, practically seething at the mouth, knowing that by every turn of the head, and every bum shuffle, they will eventually get up – and that is when, the throne is yours!

Yes the throne, that oh so precious throne that was unfairly pulled from your grasp by these savager hunters. That enticing seat with its magnetic pull that charms you towards it, tricking your mind into believing this seat is yours for the taking.

The moment you sit on it, you’ve won the game!

You body immediately relax, letting your mind travel to a place of satisfying tranquility; amidst the pandemonium around you. Deep down, you can’t believe you’ve finally won this precious seat, and you try your hardest not to gloat in your recent win.

The win of the luxury of sitting on the throne of ignorance, where you can ignore everything!

The losers look over you sour-faced at the reality of being stood for what could end up being hours, constantly being tugged from side to side like a boneless fish.

In this game of thrones where every move is calculated, there can only be one winner. Whilst the vultures congregate greedily- pushing, shoving and cheating each other for a seat, you begin to understand the savage behavior and the unique mindset of the people here.

Lack of eye contact for example is definitely one of the biggest signs of a savage. Understand that this is part of the community here, and as a outsider, you will notice accidental eye contact will create an awkward exchange of eyelash fluttering and robotic head movements. I call it, glitching.

You see, the lack of eye contact makes the cut throat behaviour easier, it allows you to remove yourself from the human you are as you ignore the pregnant or disabled and keep hold of your throne. By not looking you can pretend you are disconnected rather than ignorant and heartless.

Pregnant and disabled have even started to wear badges on their scarves or jackets, to ensure people can see these individuals are a priority.

What type of a nation needs to be prompted in this way?

In Manchester, you don’t have to wear a badge. No local will allow you to sit in a disabled seat if there is a pram, elder or disabled person on the bus or train. It just wouldn’t happen. Mancunians are way to self- aware of their surroundings to have the luxury of ignorance, especially when such an obvious injustice is taking place in front of them.

The Game of thrones is just another example of the problems with capitalism and the retention of rivalry it produces in the hearts of the people who live in these cities.

Common practices like commuting; turn into an almost animalistic combat between a nation of competitors who just don’t know when to stop.

It’s a sickness and it has poisoned us all.

This is why people here look the way they do. There soul is slowly and surely being chipped away, with every commute, with every push, scream and abusive threat on the tube. You will notice the people sat down will give you dirty looks. They kick you if you accidentally touch them. In this seat they feel they have an advantage above ‘the standers’.

They avoid eye contact so they don’t have to give up their throne to someone who may need it.

Its a different world here.

A world where the highly strung and driven meet their savage contenders in the fight of all fights, ‘The Game of thrones’.