By Jess Excell
With popular TV shows such as ‘Skins’, ‘Fresh Meat’ and the most recent being the Channel 4 documentary ‘The Secret Life of Students’, it is not surprising that society has a view of University students being vulgar, disorderly and careless. However, is this really an accurate representation of what to expect?
‘The Secret Life of Students’ claimed to expose the activities of a typical group of freshers starting at the University of Leicester, documenting their every tweet, text and Facebook message throughout their experiences as first year students.
Similar to programmes like Fresh Meat, and other dramatic representations of University student that cast very stereotypical characters, ‘The Secret Life of Students’ has attempted to portray the same collection of students with ‘the lad’ who thinks it’s ‘banter’ to catch an STI and the girl who sleeps around in order to fit in, probably more commonly known amongst younger generation as ‘the slut’. In fact, most of the series was an exaggerated reality and clearly full of clichés. Rather than concentrating on the benefits, opportunities available and student’s achievements at University, it focused on the negative drinking culture that is not the norm for every student.
At Loughborough University, the Students’ Union prides itself on the famous saying ‘there’s loads for you to do at LSU’. From Action and RAG offering volunteering and endless charity and fundraising opportunities, to the Athletic Union providing not just performance sports but free recreational and inter–hall sports, there is everything you could dream of. The Better Decisions campaign and Alternative Freshers week were also launched in order to encourage students to think about the amount of alcohol they consume and instead, offer a different set of activities to drinking and partying.
As with any University, students are, and will probably always be, involved with copious amounts of drinking, numerous promiscuous behaviours and a huge number of ridiculous late night antics that you wouldn’t want your family ever knowing. But this is not what defines the University, nor should anybody believe that this is what all undergraduates are like. Let’s hope that next time Channel 4 chooses to do a documentary on students, the outcome is a little bit more realistic by showing the positive things that happen at University and using people that better represent the majority of undergraduates.