By Matthew Edwards
Students are amazing people. They’re extremely innovative, exceptionally passionate, hell some of them are even rather smart.
What amazes me about students, though, is the way we claim to be mature, responsible and intelligent, but yet everyday you hear the same thing: petty little squabbles. What annoys me the most is the constant inter-faculty bickering, specifically between the commerce and humanities faculties. There is, and always will be, an argument between the “Bugger All” degrees and those that sell out for the money. The one side says the other degree isn’t worth anything, the other side throws back counter-accusations involving greed, capitalism and giving in to “The Man”.
I don’t know if you’ve met “The Man” yet, but I’m sure you’ll become acquainted very soon. “The Man” is not actually a physical person, neither does it have anything to do with gender politics. I’m not altogether sure myself, but as far as I know “The Man” is a representative of the entire commercial, neo-liberal, capitalist system and all the sinister plots and schemes it has to kill the world.
You’ll find, especially here at Rhodes, that there are always people preaching against “The Man”, urging people to not give into “him”. You’ll even find entire youth cultures formed around the simple principle of avoiding the evils of consumerism. All you need to do is strike up a conversation with anyone at the Old Gaol, and you’re more than likely to hear something about how evil and corrupt “The Man” is. Students, bless their souls, have always found novel and creative ways to “Stick it to the Man”. Let’s-save-the-world-by-not-buying-Nestle-products-and-only-eating-organic-foods kind of thing, you know, all that hippy stuff.
But what absolutely tickles me is how people conveniently forget one little detail. Fair enough, let’s save the world from those neo-liberal pigs. But just remember, you have made a conscious decision to come to university. You have chosen to get a degree. Why do you want a degree? I can assure you that the main reason is so that one day you can go out into the big bad world and make a living for yourself. You have come to an institution that pumps out thousands of people a year directly into the hands of the so-called “Man”. You, with a fair amount of study and a large amount of luck, will be one of those people within the next four-odd years. What is the point?
The point is that we’re all here for the same reason. We’re all essentially doing the same thing. So stop listening to all the stupid petty things people say and just get on with it. If you want to not buy Nestle because they use child labour, then don’t, but make up your own mind. Do the things you want to do for the reasons you want to do them, and that goes for subjects too. Just enjoy yourself.
I wish you good luck with your first year, and just remember: You’re the man.