Tuesday, 23 November 2010

You'd have to be nuts to go to Uni

Seriously - University can drive you mad.

RATES of serious mental illness are more than five times higher among university students than in the general population, according to research from the University of Queensland.

Almost 84 per cent of students reported psychological distress, compared with 29 per cent of the general population. More than 19 per cent of students surveyed suffered from a serious mental illness. In the general population, the rate of serious mental illness is about 3 per cent.
Here's what I want to know - when these people leave uni, do they still have a mental illness? Or does leaving provide a magic cure?

Christ on a bike - these sorts of surveys really get up my nose. Going to uni is not supposed to be easy - it's supposed to be bloody challenging, and it's supposed to weed out the stupid and the lazy and the useless. One would hope that the sort of people that finish Uni and get a good degree are the best of the best. Uni should be stressful and difficult, because it should stretch and challenge the minds of students. Either they can hack it, or they can't. If they can't, they should quit and take up plumbing.

I was under a fair bit of financial stress at Uni - mainly caused by my drinking. Once I got a job that required me to work until midnight on Friday and Saturday, the problem went away - I was unable to go to the pub - and that was that.

I was also under quite a bit of exam stress, because I drank like a fish and did hardly any work. It's pretty hard to pass your exams under those conditions - although I'm happy to report that I did score a few A's and B's. But not a lot. If you've spent most of the term drunk or asleep rather than in lectures and tutes, you'll probably feel a lot of pressure a few days out from your exams. I certainly did - I still have the odd nightmare about it over 20 years later. The fact that I passed all those exams - bar one - should clearly mean that my uni course was too easy. I should have been washed out like Bluto.

The problem that many modern day students might be having is their discovery that they don't really belong at Uni. Their parents and schools have coerced them into attending, and once they get there, they're trapped. That's certain to mess with your head.

4 comments:

kae said...

"If you've spent most of the term drunk or asleep rather than in lectures and tutes, you'll probably feel a lot of pressure a few days out from your exams."

At UQ that's called "First Year".

Skeeter said...

Here's what I want to know - when these people leave uni, do they still have a mental illness? Or does leaving provide a magic cure?

Another question: How many mentally disordered students qualify with a degree?

I'm not sure that quitting and taking up plumbing will help inadequate students. I briefly tried plumbing and found it very stressful.
In my experience, the stresses of earning a living in most jobs will far outweigh the stresses that students suffer.

A possible explanation for high rates of mental problems suffered by today's uni students:

The students are over-stressed by the constant conflict between
a) the students' life experiences outside in the real world and
b) what they are being taught by professors.

That conflict is compounded by the certain knowledge that they will fail their exams if they disagree with the professors.

Anonymous said...

In todays day and age with modern primary and secondary pedagogy is the lack of preparation to fail. This adds to their stress because they do not know how to deal with that. Boys can meet their first failure experience when a relationship falls apart. Perhaps for girls too, but I have not heard any specific stories with tradgic outcomes for them. Building resiliance in our children is a responsibility of modern parenting, because schooling and early sporting endevour no longer does.
Bigtones

phiangle said...

Yup, I returned to uni part time, during which time I have held down a full time job and had 2 children - I am about ready to stick pencils up my nose, pants on my head and say 'wibble'

I am a grown man and I wake up sweating thinking that I have missed an assignement deadline.