The Man Sat Next To Me On The Train: it’s time to sit up and celebrate!

“Being a student I’m often open to a little playful banter from family and friends, but how should we approach the subject when strangers feel it is their right to tell you that the way you live is the wrong way to live?”

Being a student, I’m often open to a little playful banter. If you too are a student, you’ll probably be more than familiar with the stereotype comments I’m referring to; being called a bum, or lazy or having people assume your untidy, unorganised or just that you spend every other night out on the town having a mighty good time!

These kind of comments from family and friends are usually meant all in good jest, but how should we approach the subject when strangers feel it’s their right to tell you that the way you live is…the wrong way to live?

“To learn, and to have the opportunity to learn is a wonderful thing.”

Facebook followers will no doubt have seen a status update yesterday referencing ‘the man sat next to me on the train’ who felt it was perfectly fine to tell me that for being a student, I am just ‘bumming around’ and ‘blagging the government’ adding that at some point I ‘will have to start paying my way.’

Well, it takes a lot to upset me, but it’s fair to say this man really left me feeling angry! I could only respond by telling the man that, in fact, while I am a student, I also have two jobs and actually, I don’t have a weekend, I don’t get a single day off.
The man snubbed this off as if I was lying to him. He was so convinced that what he was saying was the truth. Perhaps it is true towards some students, but living in England, these comments could have been directed towards a whole matter of people and been true but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to discriminate against anyone.

“In our society, people are rarely given the opportunity to feel proud of their achievements”

What confuses me is how it seems, in our society right now, people are rarely given the opportunity to feel proud of their achievements. When it comes to A-level results, good grades are celebrated right across the country with full news stories dedicated to   the kids that got into their dream universities and offering a world of advice for those who didn’t.
But this is where the celebration stops. Why is that? Surely it’s better to secure a successful future, taking the path to higher education and dedicating yourself to that one special craft you’ve worked so hard for, than it is to leave high school or college and do nothing with the skills you’ve acquired.

Of course, I am not condemning learning in alternative ways, because I believe to learn and to have the opportunity to learn is a wonderful thing. But why are we stereotyped the way we are? I for one, am incredibly proud to have secured a place on my course and equally as proud to say I am a student.

“I want to see a change in the general public’s attitude toward students.”

I might not always get everything spot-on, but I do work damn hard! With at least six projects to do at any one time (all predominantly practical and requiring weeks of research) as well as a part-time job, and an internship, I’d love to have the time to ‘bum around.’ But that isn’t a part of my life right now!
Unlike the man on the train, who I suspect went home tonight to a cold beer and a curry to start off his weekend of ‘bumming around.’

I really want to see a change in the general public’s attitude towards students! Playful banter is all well and good, but blatant discrimination and public humiliation isn’t acceptable. Students should be proud of themselves, and our other members of society should be proud of us too, because we choose to learn and that will to better ourselves and that commitment to our area of interest is a powerful thing. Whether we’re studying Fashion or Medicine.

I want to hear your views on this topic! Have you ever experienced this kind of discrimination? Are you proud of your education? Let me know, and more importantly, let the people around you know too!

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