Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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A couple of years ago I took a French class. It was mostly viewing comprehension and entitled analyse d'actualités, meaning that we watched a lot of television news trying to figure out what had happened in France last week. At the beginning of term our teacher offered a bet for a bottle of champagne that he would be able to present us news of a strike every single week of term. He was so confident – so luckily nobody took him up on this as he would have won.

As far as stereotypes go – or froggy neighbours quite like being on strike. Back then there were different difficulties of strike – easy to understand ones, say, by teachers protesting in a well-organised, grammatically correct and orderly fashion – meaning we could understand what they're saying. On the other hand for the trucker strike, with truckers with funny accents being interviewed next to a busy motorway, figuring out what they had to say way quite difficult.

After this mildly interesting anecdote let me return to the present. As of yesterday, our university is on 'strike'. This is to protest against the massive budget cuts many universities are going to see, the same cuts that we went to protest against recently.

On the face of it all this is a bit strange – how can students possibly be on strike? After all student's aren't paid for their work and the only ones they hurt by not going to lectures or seminars are themselves. So the whole terminology of 'strike' seems a bit unfortunate PR-wise.

The ideas are quite nice, though. Basically, the aim is to raise public awareness of the university by relocating seminars to be downtown or in buses for example. That way the public sees that things happen in the university and what they're like – in a good way hopefully. Whether this will influence politicians – via the media perhaps – is another question. But people are planning to go and directly hassle and challenge local as well as state politicians as well.

Personally, I am not too much affected by all this as I am not involved in first or second year lectures or seminars that are most efficient for 'strike' related activities. Research seminars and such are not really affected.

November 25, 2003, 22:18

Tagged as uni.

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