The NUS is made up of careerists playing at being students

This article was first published on The Spectator’s Coffee House blog on 24 May 2016.

Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and wary of not lobbing their mortarboards too vigorously, students graduating in the coming weeks are set for a tough time – there’s a housing crisis, a difficult economic climate, and the average starting salary for graduates hovers perilously on the £20,000 mark.

Comforting, then, that the National Union of Students has our back. Fighting valiantly against the so-called ‘marketisation’ of higher education, they offer dogmatic principles we can rely upon: namely, that university education must be free to receive; that all elected governments are secretly conniving against the people; and that all those on large salaries are somehow inherently evil.

All very honourable and right-on, but these are metrics worth measuring the NUS by, too.

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10 things I hate about Cambridge – ‘Apathy’ and the opposing hacking classes

This article was published in The Tab on 27 May 2016.

I’ll be honest with you — I like a drink just as much as the next guy.

Perhaps even more so, especially if you put me in a context where your glass fills up when you’re not even looking and before you know it you’re trying very hard not to throw up on the train home.

Like most students, I understand the intense emotional and spiritual value of the pub, and I busy myself with the tough work of keeping such establishments afloat as often as is realistically feasible.

That being said, it’s a dangerous business, and the average student pub-pilgrim is attacked on both sides. If your drink of choice is beer, you get lovingly but unnecessarily patronised by the greying patriarchs of the right-wing press, penning irrelevant and dismissive pieces about the latest ‘hysteria’ of student politics on campus with a blokeish nod and a wink. “Most students are too busy chugging beers to give more than a sideways glance to the authoritarian censorious shriekers who would stop us indulging in a little light (read: misogynistic) banter”, runs this line, with a bit of variation here and there.

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10 things I hate about Cambridge: exams – they’re the last great unequaliser

This article was published in The Tab on 19 May 2016.

Readers, h8erz, friends, romans, countrymen, my mother — this is the beginning of the end.

Today I sit the first of my final examinations as a student at Cambridge University.

If everything goes to plan (‘if’ here being one of those big capitalised garishly-flashing neon ‘if’s), I’ll be finishing my time as a Cambridge student in exactly a week’s time. Over the course of twelve hours, split up into four three-hour long stints, my entire worth as a student will be assessed.

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10 things I hate about Cambridge: Supervisors – what do you want from me?

This article was published in The Tab on 10 May 2016.

To anyone who knows me, it may come as a surprise that there was once a time when I actually worked hard.

Like, really hard. And by way of further obfuscation, I want to be absolutely clear that I love every single one of my supervisors past and present, and if any of them want to drop me an email with some tips on, you know, not failing my finals, that’s absolutely fine.

In my younger and more vulnerable years I used to toil dedicatedly for each and every supervision, and each and every essay. This was, quite obviously, before I realised how much of a waste of time they are. I used to toil over it all endlessly, poring through every book in the library, only to have a my work thrown back with no meaningful guidance as to how to make it better, just some blithe scribbles that I’d “completely missed the point”, or similar.

Character-building stuff, admittedly, but not a very useful education technique. See, there are two sides to getting better at a thing. First is knowing in what particular ways you are bad at that thing, and second is knowing how to methodically go about getting better at that thing.

Cambridge supervisors have a habit of telling you neither.

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10 things I hate about Cambridge: The NUS — and it’s so much worse than you thought

This article was published in The Tab on 4 May 2016.

Hear ye, hear ye! Here’s why we should be first in the queue to disaffiliate.

For anyone unfortunate enough to keep an eye on student politics, be it for personal so-called ‘interest’ or by tragic virtue of being a voting member of CUSU Council, the litany of bigotry is becoming straining.

Referring to Birmingham University as a ‘Zionist Outpost’ because of its large Jewish Society.

Talking about a ‘Zionist-led media’ as if the tropes that caused millions of deaths in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries aren’t at all damaging.

Failing to apologise – by which I mean the simple act of saying “I’m sorry” and being done with it – when 57 JSoc Presidents from across the country send you a letter saying that they’re, um, kinda worried.

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