Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coming Out, Standing Up and Being Counted

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I have a secret. (Shh - it's this blog).

Ever since I began writing here in February 2009, I have done so under a pseudonym. I have shown it to maybe four or five of my friends and work colleagues, but I've never made my posts public on my facebook or my own twitter account. At first, that was mainly because I wasn't confident about my writing, but more recently, it's been about not wanting to be too public about my thoughts, especially as so many of them are about jacking it all in and leaving London behind. The blog was always intended to be a diary and an occasional account of events going on during a particularly turbulent time in my life, but more of a virtual notebook; a place to store my thoughts, archive them, and be able to look back on them. I certainly still don't really know whether this blog is a foodie thing or a self-indulgent ranty thing, or just an online space to store musings. But a few things are happening that make me want to publicise a little bit more, and address some issues I feel are important.

Firstly, work is totally bonkers at the moment. People are leaving and throwing their toys out of various prams all over the place. I am trying to remain somewhat indifferent to the upheaval because it fits in with my master plan to pack my shit up and leave in around 11 months' time to try finding sustainable work somewhere in France running a jam farm. But these relatively minor HR storms rage within a sector-wide squall - I work in higher education, you see.


It's become increasingly clear to me that "this country" (as I write, I hear it being said in David Cameron's twattish little voice - shudder) has been, for the short term at least, monumentally buggered *polite term* by the Con-Dem government. All right, nothing new there; that's been going on since May. But specifically, I'm increasingly disillusioned with the prospect of talking excitedly about higher education to 17 and 18 year olds across the UK and EU this year knowing full well that they will be committing themselves, for the most part, to at least £27,000 worth of government- endorsed debt from next September onwards, not including their living costs. And that's my job, which makes things a bit tricky, really.

Thanks a bunch, Dave.

I feel like a bit of a fraud and a hypocrite, but at least part of my job is about trying to raise aspirations of young people who have the the ability to go to university but are facing barriers to progression. (It's also to help the university I work for increase their intake from as wide a variety of schools and backgrounds as possible.) But I don't yet know how we can really fix things to make university education more accessible to all, though. And I'm getting tired of feeling like we're all lying and just trying to make up the numbers to satisfy this government's guilty conscience.

But for the moment, here's what I'm doing. I'm trying to motivate a small team of people, keep my head above water, clear my own (relatively meagre) student debt, not lie to anyone (intentionally or not), get my bus commute down to under an hour a day, eat up all my greens, better my own personal best Scrabble high score of 420, and keep writing.

Oh, and given that influential people are leaving my workplace, I'm no longer worried about this blog being public anymore. You can find the real me on twitter here and here, and you can email me at the.bittersweet.cityAT gmailDOTcom. Holler at me and tell me what you think, or leave me comments and let's interact. And if you can, come and join me at this on March the 26th. It's important, for everyone, not just students.

By the way, I'm totally serious about the jam farm.


  1. MMMM... jam!

    ps. Amen to that sister!

  2. Awesome responses so far...thanks! I think there may be more of us leaving to run jam farms than I had initially thought. By this rate, there'll be no-one left to watch the Olympics.