UTS: 10 Things I Hate* About You

*and maybe kinda love

Matthew Hodges

For most of us, uni is a sweet but pretty shitty double-edged sword.

Well, maybe not “sweet”. Let’s just settle for “pretty good”.

Nothing is better than slaying your subjects, (mostly) enjoying what you’re doing, and feeling like everything is in place to benefit you. But honey, that’s only the half of it.

There are also the unnecessary, annoying, and uncomfortable realities of #UniLife.

My love-hate relationship with UTS is much like Kat and Patrick’s relationship in ‘10 Things I Hate About You’: Like her, I’m happy to get up in class and rant about the flaws of my insignificant other, but really, we love each other and stay together (for the time being, at least).

UTS, even though you’ve shortened my semesters to add a summer trimester I can’t even take, you’re pretty swell. Your degrees are (generally) more future and industry-focused than *other* universities, your memes are fresh and wholesome, and your buildings are iconic; whether they’re big and brown, or the end product of an architect’s acid trip.

Credit: UTS: Think Change Meme

How do I loathe (and love) thee? Let me count the ways.

1. My god, could certain subjects get any more vague?

I freaking well hope not. For most arts and social science (FASS) subjects, being vague seems to be en vogue: they won’t explicitly say how they want something done, what you need to know, and whether you’re right or wrong.

And I hate how they dress this up as “independent learning”: critical thinking is important, but this is not how to do it. What workplace just leaves it up to you? In the ‘real world’, there are guidelines for everything, and they need to be followed.

I’m sick of achieving below my self-imposed standards because staff don’t stress these guidelines or learning outcomes. Damn, they don’t even straight up tell you: “You’ve got it wrong.”

2. As for your tutorials that are infuriatingly passive…

Look, this is mostly our fault when most of us sit there idly and don’t answer the tutor’s questions. But who else hates it when you do put yourself out there, and your tutor’s only response is a brief nod and vague “mmm”?

Can you please just tell me what you honestly think? Did that make no sense? Was it unsubstantiated? Or was it right on point?

3. What will this do for my career, except scare me the hell off it?

Who here has spent at least 90% of their degree writing about their profession, instead of actually doing it? How many monster essays about obscure (and outdated) theories have you done?

There seems to be pressure to ‘intellectualise’ certain subject areas, rather than train you adequately and practically. Of course, theory is important and it’s much of why we’re at university in the first place. But sometimes I wonder: Does every topic, reading, and assignment really serve a purpose?

4. Courses are changing their tune, though — and I love it

This is not an #ad, believe it or not. No Twitter-crazed staff member has paid me to say this, but my journalism degree at UTS is so refreshing because it avoids these pitfalls.

Besides the important theory, I’m learning to be a journalist by actually being one. You want a “wholesome and practical university experience”? Get this: Your assignments double as learning curbs and things you can pop in your portfolio.

Credit: UTS: Think Change Meme

5. TBH I love the freedom we have to argue our views and follow our interests

I guess it’s not an all-bad thing that university is different from ‘adult’, working life. Yes, we need training, but it’s also just a fab phase for us to challenge and get passionate about society (smashed avo), politics (#millennials), the economy (smashed avo + millennials = why no one can afford to buy a house) — and, of course, what you’re learning.

I personally love taking a viewpoint, running with it and arguing for my life. Can you tell?

6. Thank you for giving me #Balance I know I won’t have again until I’m 65

Bless this sacred time that means we can get absolutely Kris Jenner’d on a Monday. Of course uni is stressful and full-on, plus we have jobs and internships to get done.

But a lot of us are lucky enough to get a break from the five days a week grind of school and work, and even start the weekend a day early.

7. Ambiguous admin for Africa

Now I’m just whining, but seriously. I’d be less stunned about bumping into Kris Jenner with a vodka soda in hand than by successfully enrolling and graduating with an entire degree.

When I do manage to sort something out, I constantly feel like I’m missing something. That literacy test new students are supposed to do? I should probs get on that…

8. …in a big-ass bureaucracy

Heaven forbid that anyone have an issue with their degree. Yes, UTS Support does the Lord’s work. But the fact is, they don’t know everything about everything, and often it feels impossible to find the right person to solve my dilemma.

9. …that often puts business interests above student ones

I wish universities did everything possible to maximise our experience, but the reality is they care more about attracting and pumping through as many students as possible (i.e. making as much revenue as possible). Yes, this often works in our favour because it gives us A-grade facilities, but it also works at our expense. Exhibit A: trimesters.

Students who can’t even do the summer term get the shitty end of the stick, just so they make more money. Not to mention them taking five digit sums per year from each international student.

10. At least the bad things gives us stuff to complain and be #activists about

Thanks to #stoptrimesters and the rest of it, we have unending material to chat, rant, be activists and write articles about. We all need something to unite against, and anyway, I’d probs be sad if everything at uni was perfect.

UTS, you piss me off sometimes but I couldn’t possibly hate ya x