For many of you reading this, Pat Phelan is but a stranger, a man whose name you have not heard. For those of you like myself, whose social life collapsed during January exams, Pat Phelan has been the bane of your Coronation Street experience and thus, the only excitement that life at the moment has to offer. Pat Phelan is the Street’s worst criminal for years, killing his neighbours and exercising a regime of fear North Korea would be proud of. Thus, I hope I do not speak alone when I ask, in a rather exasperated manner, when will Pat Phelan get his comeuppance? How much longer can ITV drag this out? As January exams become a memory of the near past, I hope that within the foreseeable future Pat Phelan suffers, and that the peak of excitement in my social life is not that of Corrie.
Thank God the new term has started and lectures have restarted. Sure, it’s pleasant to go home for a bit, be spoiled with home comforts such as a full fridge, fresh laundry, seeing your pets (oh, and those other family members too), but those home comforts which you associate so strongly with your childhood are exactly what makes it so frustrating. You’re an adult now: you’ve grown and matured into an independent member of the human race, or there abouts. Besides, life is better at university: there’s more freedom, and you find that you actually enjoy the structure of each day, as you strive towards your educational goals with a wavering degree (pun intended) of diligence. You are the captain of your own ship, realising your own dreams, making this New(castle) city your own. Just make sure that you don’t accidentally refer to your student house or accommodation in Newcastle as ‘home’ in front of your poor mother; it will break her heart.
It’s nine in the morning. You’ve dragged yourself out of bed, possibly hungover, and managed to make it to your lecture. Sometimes it’s obvious as soon as the lecture starts, sometimes you manage to get halfway through the lecture before you find out… a group discussion.
Look, I’m all for having a conversation, I do actually turn up to seminars after all. A large part of my degree is politics, and nothing makes me happier than ranting about Trump or inequality. However, in an early morning lecture of one hundred people, I disagree. Firstly, how can you conduct an effective discussion with a huge group of people? That’s part of the reason why we have a representative democracy, rather than a system of direct democracy. Secondly, ignoring the first point, it’s less of a discussion and more of a conversation between three people and your lecturer.
There’s obviously a point to group discussions, but we have workshops and seminars to carry out this function. Asking questions in a lecture is fine, but please don’t ask me to contribute to a discussion that is more public speaking than it is conversation.