It’s nothing new: being a student comes with its fair share of frustrations. But what if the solution for change has been brewing inside me all along? Time to take action?
I might already be “EFed”, but I’ll be “F***ed” if I don’t!
Over the weekend when I attended the NUS Black Students’ Conference, I discovered a quality about myself which I had tried to suppress for over 10 years of my studenthood, from the age of 18 to present – frustration.
24 hours ago I wouldn’t have considered any type of frustration a quality. To have a desire to reach a climax restricted is deflating enough! Now take away the word you’re thinking of (don’t play innocent), and add education to the mix, and you’re now Educationally Frustrated. Or my prefered wording; “EFed!” Being EFed was eating away at my confidence, and brewing anger inside me.
I was angry at the academic system for selling me a lie that if I followed certain educational paths, despite the price tag attached, I would be prosperous.
I was angry at society for the pressure it put on me to enter into HE (Higher Education) when I still hadn’t figured out what I really wanted to do.
For not listening when I was screaming out “Maybe Uni isn’t for me?!”
Angry at the academic system for pretending it cares about my well-being and my future when capitalism cracks through its false façade.
And amongst many other things, I was angry because despite all the white faces that surround me, I was managing just fine with my blackness until society informed me it had even bigger obstacles to throw my way – just for the hell of it!
So you see my frustrations that come with being a student, I’m ‘EFed’ if I do, and ‘f***ed if I don’t (excuse my French)!
When Mostafa Rajaai, the Culture and Diversity Student Union officer at my university UAL, asked me how I was finding the Black Students’ Conference during the lunch break, I expressed my initial skepticism – naturally. I have been to similar events with their impressive row of panelists, even a few recognised names thrown in for added lure. Each panelist gives their most convincing speech as though auditioning for the winning role of guardian angel! I would often leave feeling more frustrated than I had when I arrived.
“It’s good to have frustration!”
was Mostafa’s simple response to my skepticism. Those words within the context of the event made perfect sense. Finally!
The frustration I had tried to suppress each time I took up studying over the a 10 year span, could potentially be the fuel to campaign for change. By getting involved in Black Students’ campaigns, I can have my voice heard!
Unlike Marty McFly, I can’t go Back to the Future. But imagine if I could rewind to 10 years ago to when I was 18 (ah, back when I was young and free!)… If only the student officer that handed me my first NUS discount card had just taken an extra 5 minutes to tell me about the different unions within the NUS. Instead of repeatedly promoting all the discounts I would be entitled to (some great discounts though), I could have been involved in various students’ unions, partially the Black Students, as far back as 10 years ago!
Sadly, there’s no guarantee that other aspects of my student life would have also changed for the better had I joined the Black Students union back then… Would I still have chosen the wrong course and start afresh with a new one? Would I still have failed the year and have to repeat?… Would my university campus still fail to serve seasoned chicken?! Probably yes to all!
So I guess it’s meant to be that I’m “EFed” now, because I still would have been “f***ed” then!
For more about the NUS Black Students campaign get in touch with Aaron Kiely, the NUS Black Students’ Officer through the NUS (National Union of Students) website: www.nus.org.uk for more.
Keep up to date with UAL Culture and Diversity officer Mostafa Rajaai and SUARTS campaigns check out www.suarts.org
- A black winter weekend with NUS (theefedstudent.wordpress.com)
- Student unions condemn government sale of loans for £160m (theguardian.com)
- NUS President Speaks at London Youth Conference (salfordianussu.wordpress.com)
- Mature Student Society – to Be or Not to Be???? (lindahennessy.wordpress.com)
- New beginnings (warringtonobserver.wordpress.com)