The River’s Federica Baggio talks about Kingston University’s poor ranking and student reaction to it.
The Guardian reckoned KU deserved to be placed 95th out of 120 in its national universities ranking this year. Boom! How should we react to that?
If we, Kingston University students, had to take this figure as an oracle and the basis of our expectations for the future, then we should all let ourselves be taken into anti-depressive medical care.
Before panicking, I would say we should ask ourselves how these classifications are made and how significantly they apply to our specific field of study.
Our Journalism Department, for instance, was granted the acknowledgment of best journalism school in the United Kingdom.
And if it is the case that our faculty or degree is among those lacking national acknowledgment, it is certainly not the end of the world.
I am an opponent of the popular philosophy that success in life is the result of a calculation.
When I became old enough I realized that luck was a significant factor that had helped me to achieve all of the good results I was ever aiming for. That of course in addition to my determination and guts.
If luck is on your side (and it will be some times), there’s no better ally you could count on, not even the best-looking CV.
I refuse to believe that life works like some sort of gigantic equation.
Something like: best-ranked university + graduation with a first class degree + CV filled in with loads of fancy internships = Rewarding job before the last wisdom tooth has popped out + happily married + contentment on a general level.
OK, now, no one would ever actually think like that, would they?
But, in fact, what they (as in that famous ‘they’ we all drop into our everyday conversations, although we couldn’t tell who they really are) try to sell to our young brains as the one, immutable truth is not totally far from the above absurd equation.
The Guardian’s tables, with all those bizarre abbreviations that fail to ring any bell in my foreign head (HESA, GNVW and QUALENT 1,2 and 3 and many more) certainly don’t lie, but they do not contain the recipe for self-realization either.
There are so many different factors that can influence someone’s career, so many different ingredients that need to be poured into the pot. Recognizing a once-in-a-life-time opportunity and being able to seize it, is one of those, I would say.
I also believe there is another important issue that is quite neglected when it comes to analyzing education bodies through surveys and league tables.
I am talking about the fact that what concretely makes those institutions is not numbers, but rather, human beings.
Teachers, I believe, make the real difference in the shaping of future generations.
They are the ones who can rouse a passion in young people; they have the real power to direct them towards a fulfilling work engagement by instilling in them the hunger for something more.
They can make a difference between a graduate, like many others, and an enthusiast for life (and for a certain discipline within life).
Now, do the best-ranked universities always get the best teachers? Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe they get the best-known ones.
However, ability and fame have often revealed themselves as wholly relative concepts.
Clearly, rankings and figures do not lie.
We shall not forget though, that some things in life, even in these modern statistics-addicted times, are still shaped by humans.