(2016 Comment: May the awful foundation unit that inspired this post rot in the fiery pits of hell.)

I understand now. That’s right friends, Epiphany is not just a bad name for a newborn baby – it’s an actual thing that you can have.

I realize now that higher education is not just about acquiring a crippling student debt, although it will be from 2016. It’s more than that. So much more. After you blaze through three years of assignments with criteria sheets offering only vague outlines, your resulting grade point average is meant to give you a one-two leg-up in the business world. Fuck yeah! Jobs and money are awesome and I would like to have both of these things, right now!

Unfortunately nothing is ever quite that simple.

Each day of life can apparently bring with it a new experience to learn from (citation needed). Well here’s what I’ve learnt: higher education is kind of like joining a cult. If you aren’t a participating member of the arduous debt collection process, you are forever sidelined with all the Bob’s and John’s down at your local pub. Yes that’s right. You are a terrible, unemployable human being with alcoholism, a nicotine addiction and a penchant for buggery – living off the Australian taxpayer dollar all the while. Anyway, that’s the conclusion I came too after being knocked back from like eighty-five different job applications last year.

school-books2[1]

Never mind any self-learned skills in any areas of need – if you don’t have a $30,000 certificate that I could Photoshop for free in less than six minutes, your job prospects are not very good. It’s not because you aren’t talented of course, it’s just that you aren’t part of the cult. The people hiring you are sitting there saying “He doesn’t have any debt?”, whilst simultaneously placing ones resume in the nearest shredder. But I don’t even think it’s specifically related to debt. It’s just a small part of the “I’m not going to hire you” equation.

It all comes back to hatred; something I think I am at least slightly qualified in many years of inane rambling. Your potential employer doesn’t hate you. Your potential employer hates what higher education ended up being for them – a tired shitfest of academics justifying their own existence at your expense for over $4000 a semester.

The ideals of university are fantastic, there’s no denying that. If you harbour a specific interest that you would like to pursue further, that’s fantastic! I’m really happy for you! But the harsh reality is anything but fluffy clouds and coffee drinking with an extended pinkie. You are there to be victimized as a student.

I’m not even talking about the monetary aspect, or lack there of. The entire duration of your degree is simply spent jacking off countless tutors and lecturers, reassuring them that the inane topics they’ve dedicated $80,000 and a doctorate to, are not complete bullshit. Don’t misunderstand me here – I’m talking specifically about doctorates that are behind the ‘filler’ core units in your degree. The kind of shit that simply shouldn’t exist, and certainly not within whatever degree you chose. I can name several of them within my own degree, and I’m sure you can too.

Anyway, however lovely these people might be and however willing you are to enact their desire to be fellated publicly, the simple fact of the matter is that they over-committed and lost their way in life. They were once like you: go-getters with aspirations of becoming more than a simple university lecturer. But then something happened. They got sucked into an eternal black-hole of debt and accidentally completed an irrelevant doctorate.

Student_572[1]This is not an accurate depiction of a university student.

That generalization is not entirely accurate either, but you get the idea. Let’s face it, universities are a business and you are there as part of a well-oiled machine designed to derive profits to that end. In addition, people that don’t meet the arbitrary requirements for their dream course get sidelined further still – at least initially. Enter the standard arts degree’s – the first semesters of which are spent reassuring you that there is in fact a job for you at the end (no there isn’t). If you’re an artist you are pretty well fucked unless you have an extreme stand-out talent in your area of expertise.

And I should know, I’ve spent many hours researching why becoming a journalist is not a thing, in some vague unit-wide attempt to reassure everyone of their decision to accept entry to a second preference course (I was not reassured, the evidence is clear). Introspective bullshit Year-10 bridging units aside, I’m going to become a damn journalist anyway. In debt do we part.

Allow me to get more specific still: I can sum up one of these filler units with exactly one phrase: “Context Collapse”. Why does that phrase exist? Because an academic read some papers about something being out of context, and created a new term for it to use in their own paper. That’s what being a lecturer in these units is all about: citing someone’s extensive research and paraphrasing it to suit their own research. And then when you can’t get a job as a master of said irrelevant information, you simply create one for yourself by teaching others of your extensive knowledge in irrelevant bullshit! Brilliant!

Given the horrendous research efforts delegated by said ‘doctors’ to students, justifying the cost of a unit you’re absolutely not interested in, I understand the snobbery that now takes place in the business world. Potential employers endured the utter, utter bullshit too, so why shouldn’t I have to?

middle_aged_academic_using_smartphon_450[1] This is a more accurate depiction, or rather, this is actually me at university. A decade after most of my peers.

You know, I never thought I’d actually be apart of a cult, but here we are. I once saw Tom Cruise jump on Oprah’s couch a bunch of times and that kind of cemented cultism for me. Although if I had more money than god, I’d probably invest in Scientology a suitable tax haven too.

Thanks to the harsh realities of corporate snobbery this century, this is where I find myself. No one really actively shares the fact that a cult membership is necessary at some point in pursuing a professional career, you’re just meant to kind of… find out, as I have.

Maybe if I’d had the smarts to create a career for myself by authoring a whole bunch of bullshit papers and getting a university to publish them, I wouldn’t be in this mess, but alas here I am. Ten years later I have finally joined you, friends, in the requisite jumping on Oprah’s couch.

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