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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 1. 6th March 1974

On Not Enrolling

page 19

On Not Enrolling

C/-Chief Poet Office. Nelson.

Dear Sir,

Thoughts on wandering through the corridors of Victoria University and sipping coffee in the cafeteria.

Three months on the road, three months away from exams and a decision not to return and finish a degree at my Australian University, the doubts of an upbringing that said schooling was education and was good and necessary were starting to nag at me. Could it really have been that bad? that stuffy? that cliquey? were the lectures really so boring?

This was my first visit to Victoria Varsity but two very familiar men in sum (obviously professors or lecturers) walked by discussing in cultured tones course content and the number of students. The familiar bewildered faces of first year students as they walked from desk to desk trying to cope with enrolment procedure and the hordes of clubs (mainly religious) looking for members.

Old hands greeting friends over coffee then staking out their seat in the library.

I looked at the handbook with its usual radical blurbs and critiques and then at the students—so many of whom will argue that much of varsity, its aims and courses are ratshit but will still sit up to have assignment in in time, sit the exams and play the university game in the rarified air above Wellington harbour or anywhere else.

It seems to come down to this—an atmosphere of unreality, of half people, of unbalanced studies—I can tell you about Shakespeare but not how to grow a garden; write a chemical treatise but am not willing or able to reorganise my life style to make maximum use of resources; study sociology yet can sit in lectures for a year, greet two or three people and then race off at lunch time to small groups of firends, too afraid or pressured by assignments and classes just without the time for wider contact. So busy turning out essays, experiments, exams there is no time to learn an absolute anything! Or even wonder why.

And from a general impression of Victoria University it is the same there as at home. Anyway, my doubts vanished and my sympathy goes out, especially to those first year students who have come straight from school.

Maybe if I had a degree and knew something I could give you advice and say get out of the education system at least for one year. Give yourself time to look at it more objectively and assess whether it really has anything to offer you. Take time to find out, when you have no one structuring your life for you, who you are, how you like to spend your time—perhaps travel, work a little, take-time to meet different people, to sit around and talk.

But anyway, if you're smart enought to be at university you'll know better than to take these thoughts seriously.

AI Genn