If you’re good at science, go cure cancer. If you’re good at sport, go be a professional footballer, they earn good money, more than soldiers according to your da’s Facebook status. If you excel in neither but are adequate in both, go do sport science; a course desgined to help underfunded polytechnics defraud gym-bros who wonder what all the long words on the back of their creatine bottles actually mean. As governments begin to treat higher education budgets like most people view their nephew’s 19th birthday present – they know they have to spend something otherwise it looks bad, but times are hard and a token amount will have to suffice – it’s easy to see why universities are happy to take nine grand a year teaching people that repeatedly picking up and putting down heavy weights can increase muscle mass. But why are people taking it? You’re paying the cost of a decent second car every year to turn up hungover in a BCK&HRSY t-shirt and write down the word “lactic acid” in your notebook whilst you slowly turn into Tim Sherwood, and right now Tim Sherwood wishes he hadn’t turned into Tim Sherwood. It’s no life, honest.
Effectively a 3 year course into how to be a dickhead. “Projected turnover” “profit margins” “stock options” this is the secret language of the dickhead. The ostentatious watch, bad tie, slimey-haired, greater-spotted dickhead to be precise. The sort of people who do business studies are the sort of people who aspire to appear on The Apprentice, and The Apprentice is basically just a mixture of corporate buzzwords, Nietschean nihilism and social awkwardness, like if Ayn Rand had written The Office. The saddest thing about this is even if the business studies graduate does prosper in the corporate world there are no captains of industry anymore, Carnegie, Rockerfeller and Getty belong to different age, the highest heights on offer now are Mike Ashley. You might have the wealth of Morgan, Midas and Mycaenas, but if you earnt it through flogging sportswear at discount prices it doesn’t have the same pinache.
Another 3 year course on how to be an dickhead, but unlike business studies politics throws up a range of potential dickheads. There’s the left-wing dickhead: totally earnest; fundamentally decent and very annoying. Prone to haranguing you outside campus to tell you about “the issue of the day” until you lose your temper and have to bark, “No! I’m not going to your anti-fracking demo” at them and then instantly feel a bit guilty because you’re no fan of nasty polluting oil corporations yourself, you just hate them marginally less than people from the home counties playing the bongos. Then there’s the right-wing dickheads, with his (it’s usually a ‘he’ anyway) booming laugh and ridiculous dress sense you can amuse yourself by seeing how many pints of real ale it takes to turn “I don’t have any truck with any of this political correctness nonsense” into outright racism. My money’s usually on three. Finally there’s a new edition, the post-ideological technocrat in waiting, usually linked to either the Liberal Democrats or the Labour Party. If opinions are like arseholes you wonder whether this person possesses either. They always seem to lack any real emotion, having replaced it all with ambition, they don’t even look real, like those regens that pop up when you’ve been playing Football Manager for three or four seasons.
What an excellent idea, get a degree in an industry that’s dying on its arse and is widely reviled. Seriously, journalism was once not just a noble career but a viable one, you had figures like Woodward and Bernstein, and John Pilger. Now you have a fake Sheikh, Richard Littlejohn and the hacked voicemail of a dead schoolgirl, it’s hard to feel sympathy for the media as it tries and fails to operate profitably in a digital world. And failing it certainly is, with newspaper’s circulation having dropped more than Margaret Thatcher’s and no way of making money from the internet a journalism graduate today is in the same position as a loom operator in 1812. Unless Polly Toynbee’s going to make like the French saboteurs and chuck a clog into the servers at Guardian HQ, taking the website down and forcing everyone to go and buy a paper copy of the newspaper then I’m sorry but your journalism degree will most likely mean you writing copy for “exposure” for a very long time.
You’d always been fairly prodigious reader from a young age so it was natural you would do English at university, it was a ticket out of the suburban town you grew up in where the factories had closed under Thatcher. So you went to lectures dressed like John Alderton in Please Sir!, used the word “Brechtian” wrongly and found out what the highest score you can get on an essay based on having watched the film adaptation of Ian McKewan’s Atonement and read the Wikipedia page for The End of the Affair (2:1 since you ask, “excellent knowledge of the texts”). Then you graduated and found out just how fucked your generation is, working in a pub for minimum wage and trying to chat up your co-worker by mentioning you’ve read The Yellow Wallpaper. It won’t work mind, she wants to fuck the sport science undergraduate in the “sex, drugs and sausage rolls” t-shirt ordering shots at the bar.