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Philosophy

I returned to uni for freshers’ week 20 years after leaving. Here’s what has changed

graduation hats in air

Humanosity says..Analysts think that most people will have to retrain several times during their working lives. This article from the Guardian takes an in depth look at how life on campus has changed for someone who returned to uni especially as studies show students party less and are supposed to be less tolerant of radical views…

In the autumn of 1997, I was a fresher at the University of Glasgow. Months after the Labour landslide, weeks after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, I was an 18-year-old British-Indian made up of equal parts teenage kicks, terror and Topshop and on my way to Scotland for the first time, to live and study in a city I had never even visited. I was a 90s Londoner in every sense: geographically ignorant, cocky, earnestly carrying a pager. North, to me, meant north of the Thames. Yet there I was, on a train nosing true north on the west coast mainline.

At Euston station, I was waved off by my parents. I remember nothing of this momentous goodbye. In Carlisle, I felt a great sense of occasion because I thought we had crossed the border. By Motherwell, I was all grown up. In Glasgow, seeing the towering gothic spire of the fourth oldest university in the UK from my cab window, I thought it was the cathedral. When the driver informed me that it was, in fact, my university, I gasped. Had I even seen the prospectus?

Twenty-two years later, I am on another train. Forty years old, less cocky, the pager replaced by a scratched Samsung A5, but once more on my way to my alma mater – as no one in Glasgow calls it. This time, I am heading west from Edinburgh: I never did go back to England.

I am off to meet some freshers and do the things that freshers in 2019 do. Which is, according to my assumptions, drink less. Work more. Do more interacting on social media than freshers’-flu-inducing socialising. Worry about the financial burden of a degree, an unstable job market, rent hikes, epidemic levels of sexual harassment on UK campuses, climate crisis, Brexit and whatever fresh hell is playing out in Westminster.

My abiding sense is of a generation of young people carrying a lot more on their young shoulders than mine did. Many have voted in neither a general election nor a referendum, yet find themselves living in the most turbulent period of British history since well before their parents were born.

Click here to read the full article at www.theguardian.com

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