November 14, 2006

Top tips

I’ve now been at uni for more than 6 weeks and have come up with a list of ten things to do and ten things not to do if you want a really good time (and have similar interests to me). I have done all twenty things that I included in the list and I must admit I don’t regret the vast majority of these, though I look back and think “why on earth did I do that?” with most of the things to avoid – hence putting them in that list, I guess.

Ten things to do
  1. Join as many societies as you have time for. I joined 11.
  2. Become really passionate about something. I’ve been opinionated for a while but now I have discovered that I have a passion for politics.
  3. Become an active member of a few of your societies. I’m on the exec in Craft society and I can often be found out in the cold on Saturday mornings with the Conservatives.
  4. Go to a democratic meeting – either just for fun or as an elected representative. I have not missed one democratic meeting since I arrived, though that is most likely down to my responsibilities as a Union councillor.
  5. Go on a protest. I went on the fees demo in week 4.
  6. Keep your options open for the future. I really don’t have a clue what I am wanting to do in the future now as I’m nowhere near as passionate as I was about my course and I can’t make a career out of my passion so I have no choice but to keep my options open.
  7. Make your voice heard. I went on the fees protest and I am also really involved in Union democracy.
  8. Get involved in a cause. The fees protest again.
  9. Discover the local area. I’ve been around quite a bit since week 4.
  10. Find an interest you didn’t know you had. Joining loads of societies has helped me find loads of interests I never knew I had.
Ten things to avoid
  1. Missing too many lectures that you do not understand the course. Though I did only miss lectures when I had a legitimate reason (such as going to a conference and making a fool of myself by running round the campus all lunchtime trying to find anyone random who would sign my nomination form).
  2. Getting lost. This I mainly did in week 1 but I still do not know how to get to my maths supervision so am always late.
  3. Giving your diseases to everyone else. I was lied to and therefore thought it would be in my best interests to give everyone freshers’ flu in week 2.
  4. Double booking yourself and then leaving the decision as to what event to go to out of your hands. I did this in week 3 and it was a complete disaster as I was more concerned for most of the week where I would be going on the Saturday than I was about my course.
  5. Being really impatient. I don’t know how many emails I’ve sent along the lines of “when is such and such happening” or “what happened with such and such” – another issue from week 3.
  6. Analysis!!! To be avoided like the plague – I mean, is there even anyone who can understand analysis?
  7. Sleep deprivation. I really need to spend more time in bed, I’m just most awake late at night.
  8. Getting stressed out by things that, in the great scheme of things, do not really matter. Well it was my fault for double booking myself on Saturday week 3 – note to self: never again!
  9. Missing lunch on the grounds that you did not know how to use the internet. Monday week 3 was definitely another day never to be repeated – I’m so in a mess if I stand for council again next year.
  10. Criticising the pedantry of pedantic meetings. The whole point of composite is to be pedantic about grammar so there was no point in me criticising that fact yesterday.

Any other suggestions for either list would be more than welcome.


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  1. Max Hammond

    My take on your list:

    Join as many societies as you have time for. I joined 11.

    Join a few societies (3/4 at max) and go to everything that they do. That way you get to really meet people, rather than just turning up occasionally.

    Become really passionate about something. I’ve been opinionated for a while but now I have discovered that I have a passion for politics.

    I don’t think it’s possible to decide to become passionate about something. The key about being at university is exposing yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking, and being open to these new ideas. Eventually, you’ll find yourself really caring about things.

    Become an active member of a few of your societies. I’m on the exec in Craft society and I can often be found out in the cold on Saturday mornings with the Conservatives.

    Why join if you aren’t going to be active?

    Go to a democratic meeting – either just for fun or as an elected representative. I have not missed one democratic meeting since I arrived, though that is most likely down to my responsibilities as a Union councillor.

    Union “democracy” is a farce perpetuated by the union hacks who have nothing better to do. What goes on in the union is irrelevant to almost everybody, so almost nobody votes or becomes otherwise involved.

    Go on a protest. I went on the fees demo in week 4.

    Choose your battles. Think through your arguments. Reasoned discussion achieves much more than waving a banner around, when you are a minority.

    Keep your options open for the future. I really don’t have a clue what I am wanting to do in the future now as I’m nowhere near as passionate as I was about my course and I can’t make a career out of my passion so I have no choice but to keep my options open.

    Don’t think about options, you’re still a child. If you don’t know what you want to do, just make the most of your time at uni, and the path will hopefully become clearer to you. And I don’t just mean party hard – I mean really commit to learning, thinking, and understanding the world around you. Eventually you’ll gain some insight into yourself through the process.

    Make your voice heard. I went on the fees protest and I am also really involved in Union democracy.

    Who is listening? The arguments for student fees are being made very competently, the arguments against are typically left-wing rants. Waving a banner does not defeat an economic argument, nor lessen the pragmatic needs behind a situation. If you want to fight, it should be with the intellect that you possess, not by following a crowd.

    Get involved in a cause. The fees protest again.

    Learn to believe. Don’t be a passenger – care about the people and the world around you.

    Discover the local area. I’ve been around quite a bit since week 4.

    Discover the local people. How many locals have you spoken to since you’ve been here?

    Find an interest you didn’t know you had. Joining loads of societies has helped me find loads of interests I never knew I had.

    Become interested in everything. Some things will interest you enough for you to commit considerable effort to them, some will just pass by, but they’re all interesting on the way. Sherlock Holmes took the view of only remembering those things which were important to his case, but I take the other view – things that are random trivia one day can become the missing piece of information in a big puzzle the next. Real intellectual capability is about connecting disparate information into a synthesized picture, and to do that you must see the bigger picture from the outset.

    14 Nov 2006, 22:14

  2. Matt

    My top tip would be to ignore patronising fools like Max.

    14 Nov 2006, 22:23

  3. Max Hammond

    My top tip would be to ignore patronising fools like Max.

    Well, Matt, that’s a well-reasoned response to my post. She asked for suggestions, and I gave some.

    14 Nov 2006, 22:41

  4. My top tip would be to start blogging regularly, which you’ve done. Second would be to learn how to delete comments from people like Matt. Third but most significantly (and it’s later in the list as you need the time to settle down) is to find out who on your course you can get on with really well – not only will they be running up to you in the future looking for help, but you will be doing the same to them.

    Double-booking you might not be able to avoid in the future, I remember the second term of year 1 which saw most of us having six hours straight on a Friday and some seven, not to mention various other times where lectures for core modules were scheduled together.

    You MathsPhys people were always a… how can I put it politely… “different” breed of person. :)

    14 Nov 2006, 22:45

  5. Max Hammond

    I have one more comment: don’t be afraid to make big decisions about your life.

    I’m nowhere near as passionate as I was about my course

    Nor was I. It took me 6 months to realize that I wasn’t doing the right thing. I didn’t enjoy it. I remember very clearly one morning just deciding that I didn’t want to carry on. It was an open day, and I picked up a prospectus and sat in Thermal Physics reading it through, and thinking about what else there was to study. As you will have, I’d spent the last years planning for what I wanted to do, and then I realized that I had been mistaken.

    So I changed degrees after a year, started again, and never looked back.

    14 Nov 2006, 23:04

  6. Getting lost.

    No way, getting lost is one of the more fun ways to spend an afternoon. It helps if you don’t have any pressing need to get where you’re trying to find, though.

    15 Nov 2006, 00:05

  7. yes, you joined 11 societies—and that’s a lot of $

    15 Nov 2006, 00:18

  8. charlotte

    Definitely!

    15 Nov 2006, 06:57

  9. Alicia

    My top tip would be to avoid blogging altogether, I wish I’d listened to my sons when they said “All bloggers are losers.” I’m only doing it until I get an apology from Luke Blackwell for calling me a bitch. If I were you Kerri I’d concentate on my degree, you haven’t exactly chosen an easy peasy one have you love.

    15 Nov 2006, 07:30

  10. matt

    Well, Matt, that’s a well-reasoned response to my post. She asked for suggestions, and I gave some.

    No, she asked for suggestions for her list, not for a critique of her life based on insights like “you’re still a child”, and not for a tirade of bizarre Luhrmannisms of the form “Learn to believe. Don’t be a passenger”.

    15 Nov 2006, 09:19

  11. N

    Max said,

    Union “democracy” is a farce perpetuated by the union hacks who have nothing better to do. What goes on in the union is irrelevant to almost everybody, so almost nobody votes or becomes otherwise involved.

    Union “democracy” can sometimes be a farce, but the Union isn’t irrelevant to everybody. The Union is meant to provide representation and social, educational, recreational and welfare facilities for it’s members. It does and most students benefit from representation and use the facilities, often without realising they are benefiting from something the Union provides. People only tend to notice the Union doing something when it does something wrong. Given that the Union does do those things, choosing people to control it aren’t going to mess them up is quite important.

    Waving a banner does not defeat an economic argument, nor lessen the pragmatic needs behind a situation. If you want to fight, it should be with the intellect that you possess, not by following a crowd.

    No, waving a banner doesn’t defeat an economic argument, but doing something along those lines is often (sadly) necessary in order to get someone to notice you have another economic argument that does. Waving a banner may not always be the most effective means to get that notice, but it has its place.

    15 Nov 2006, 10:42

  12. In response to a few of your comments,

    • Firstly, though I really believe in freedom of speech, I do not take too kindly to being called a child. I am 19 – that makes me old enough to have sex, old enough to smoke, old enough to drive, old enough to drink, old enough to vote (which by the way I have only done 2 of those things in my lifetime – I’ll leave you all to work it out on the grounds my birthday’s in March).
    • Secondly, all comments are welcome. I do not have any policy on comments but please keep bitching to a minimum and use constructive criticism.
    • Thirdly, you guys all seem to be critical of Union democracy. I would like to explain my views on this very important issue. I decided to stand for council because I felt I could make a positive difference to all you guys and also because I felt that there was a lack of representation amonst the right in student politics. Before anyone criticises me and tells me that it is because the right are a minority group, we are but we are a significant group (out of the 3 main political parties, it is the Tories who have the greatest membership on campus). There are more Muslims than Tories on council this year – that is not in any way intended as a statement against Muslims, also anyone who knows/is a Tory on Union council this year please feel free to correct the statement. Also the Union can only be democratic if you guys all get involved. I’m not advocating that everyone votes in the upcoming referendums or anything like that, though I did submit an artice to the Boar yesterday afternoon about the bias in the referendums process and how I felt was the best way to solve it (though it is subject to approval by the Sabbs before publishing). If anyone is feeling that they are not represented by the democratic structures in the Union, then speak out. I am always willing to listen (as I am sure most of the other councillors are). If it is not appropriate to be dealt with by council then I can pass it on to the most relevant person.
    • Fourthly (is that even a word?), about blogging. The original reason to set up this blog was to advertise the fact that I was standing for council, but that reason is now redundant. I have since decided to primarily use this blog as a democracy tool to keep you guys updated of the goings on in council meetings and so you guys can come back to me and criticise the way I voted. I add the occasional random post just for fun so that people do not think that this is a really boring blog – very rarely do I here the words “democracy” and “fun” in the same sentence.

    Lastly, I want to apologise for not getting back to you all sooner. I was ill last night and went to bed really early.

    15 Nov 2006, 11:14

  13. Tom. B

    well put!

    15 Nov 2006, 11:46

  14. Kerri, a big reason why people are disillusioned with union democracy comes from the events that happened last year. I’m not sure if people have told you about these before, but if memory serves me correctly, two of the major things which annoyed us were one referendum where we voted for a no-smoking policy in the union, only for this to be overturned due to ‘economic reasons’ and another where we voted that the union should have a no-stance policy on abortion only for a pro-choice stance to sneak back under the guise of another policy. (I’ll say though that there were strong views on both sides just in case I’m making it sound like everyone was annoyed at the union for that).

    There was a lot of debate about it on the blogs which could show you the strength of feeling involved with these events:
    For the smoking ban the comments on this blog show some of the debate:

    And for the abortion referendum debate (referring specifically to the debate on the motion for “Financially Supporting And Advising Pregnant Students Of Their Choices” as it was called), these entries had some of the most comments on them: link , link and link

    But anyway, I don’t want to stir up any more debate on those subjects, just wanted to let you know why for some of us our views of union democracy are a bit tainted. :-)

    15 Nov 2006, 12:59

  15. Max Hammond

    Firstly, though I really believe in freedom of speech, I do not take too kindly to being called a child.

    Ok, that was harsh of me. I’ll give it some context from my own perspective: I thought I was all grown up when I got to uni. I really thought I was grown up when I graduated. Gradually, while I completed my PhD I realised that actually I wasn’t. I look back at myself as a fresher and hardly recognise that person any more. And I’m still changing. I think that’s the thing that one should really hope to get out of uni: it changes people. It’ll change you too.

    So don’t spend too long worrying about where you want to go. It’s true that the choices you make now will affect your future, but a million other factors which you can’t control will also affect your future. What you can affect is your present.

    Matt,

    and not for a tirade of bizarre Luhrmannisms of the form “Learn to believe. Don’t be a passenger”.

    Bizarre to you, but fundamentally important to me. They actually weren’t throwaway statements, I spent some time writing that response, and it sums up what I think I learned from Warwick. Take it or leave it, it’s my opinions and no more. Rather than making ad hominem attacks against me, how about sharing what’s important to you?

    15 Nov 2006, 14:12

  16. Naomi, thanks for the insight into why you guys are a little disillusioned with Union democracy. I have heard about the smoking ban that “we” (in inverted commas as I wasn’t there last year) voted for in a referendum. As a non-smoker, I completely support the stance of the students and when I heard about the “economic reasons” I was rather offended that our views had not been taken into consideration – that is, after all, I believe, the point of referendums.

    Unfortunately, if anyone were to propose a motion saying that economic reasons should not stop a policy from being implemented it would almost certainly not be passed. If it were sent to council, there is a chance that most of us would vote against it after having heard the economic reasons (and the number of people at a council meeting – approximately 60-120 depending on turnout – means we are not that representative of everyone else). If it were sent to a referendum, it would more than likely be passed but it will not be implemented.

    As for the abortion debate, I have heard much less about this one but in the upcoming referendum period (week 9) I encourage everyone to read the motions and also listen to both sides of the debate before voting. I have submitted an article to the Boar about the bias in the referendums process but do not know whether or not it will be published as it might appear that I was (though completely unintentionally) endorsing the “no” vote – something which, as a member of Composite, I am not entitled to do. A short statement is written at the top of each motion, which should explain nothing more than the content of that motion – however, if the statement was in any way misleading, I would take it up with a member of last year’s composite as it was their job to come up with it.

    By the way, I am only stating what I can based on my knowledge of democratic procedures. I have only been here a few weeks so it is likely that I may have said something completely untrue, even though I feel that I know more about Union democracy than the average fresher. If this is the case then I apologise.

    15 Nov 2006, 15:34

  17. if anyone were to propose a motion saying that economic reasons should not stop a policy from being implemented it would almost certainly not be passed

    You couldn’t pass such a motion (well you could I suppose, but you couldn’t implement it) as it would basically entail instructing the Union to break the law.

    15 Nov 2006, 15:56

  18. Alicia

    Kerri…”Please use constructive critism”, that’s rather an ambiguous statement, what is constructive to one person is not necessairly seen as constructive by another and vice versa. Asking for an apology from someone who was rude to me must surely be the epitome of constructive critism.

    15 Nov 2006, 18:17

  19. charlotte

    Why did Luke call you a you-know-what, Alicia?

    15 Nov 2006, 18:22

  20. Alicia

    I don’t know, Charlotte, all I know is that it was unjustified and very unkind, nobody has ever called me that before. Don’t worry, I’m OK, though.

    15 Nov 2006, 19:56

  21. Analysis!!! To be avoided like the plague – I mean, is there even anyone who can understand analysis?

    Wait for analysis 2

    16 Nov 2006, 00:55

  22. Further response to comments:

    Firstly,

    You couldn’t pass such a motion (well you could I suppose, but you couldn’t implement it) as it would basically entail instructing the Union to break the law.

    If this is the case then surely the motion should not even be put to the vote. Any illegal motions will be rejected by the relevant group (either Steering or Composite – though why we actually have 2 different groups to do what is essentially exactly the same thing, I do not know) before voting can take place, either at council or at a referendum. I was only stating what I believed to be true and did not know that it was illegal in such a case to put the views of students ahead of economic consequences.

    Secondly, the “constructive criticism” comment was aimed at everyone. I might even think about making it my comments policy. I welcome constructive criticism (i.e. explaining what is wrong with such and such a point of view and what could be done to improve that) but do not like the idea of anyone bitching about people or opinions. It is a free country and we are all entitled to say pretty much what we want (hence me not having an actual comments policy) but I will give you an example of what I see as acceptable and what I do not approve of – though I am always more likely to rip apart your arguements if you say something really destructive rather than deleting your comment.

    Take, for example, a post on Union council – there are a few of these already and will be more throughout the year. Also my blog is primarily a democracy tool (as I explained above in comment 12 on this entry).

    An acceptable comment would be something along the lines of:
    “I don’t agree with the way you voted on the motion about green rabbits. It is in the best interests of the students if rabbits are allowed to be green. Would you please be kind enough to explain why you do not approve of rabbits being green. What would your alternative suggestion be?”
    To which I would produce a constructive reply:
    “I accept your stance on the ‘green rabbits’ debate, but after having heard arguements from both sides, I decided to vote against the motion. This was because I felt that it would be more in the best interests of the students if the rabbits were red. However, I have taken your point on board and will consider this if a similar motion comes up at the next council meeting.”

    A not acceptable comment would be along the lines of:
    “Ha, loser! Rabbits should be green and you don’t agree so I don’t like you.”
    To which I would reply something along the lines of:
    “Commenter, I do not think that I am a loser. There was a perfectly good reason I decided to vote against the ‘green rabbits’ motion and that was that I saw it to be in the best interests of the students if rabbits were red. This motion stated only that rabbits should be green. Please remember that I am representing the best interests of everyone and not just you. You can say what you want about me but don’t judge my personality only on how I voted on some motion about green rabbits.”

    PS: Sorry about the “green rabbits motion” that I decided to use as an example. I just couldn’t think of anything better.

    So now you know what my comments policy is, please try to stick to it.

    16 Nov 2006, 01:06

  23. You do Analysis 2, you look back at Analysis 1 and say “that was so easy!”.
    You do Analysis 3… and you weep.

    16 Nov 2006, 01:30

  24. I didn’t do Analysis 3 because I was already weeping at Analysis 2 and went to do more Stats modules instead.

    16 Nov 2006, 02:25

  25. I did all three and didn’t pass a single one of them.

    16 Nov 2006, 04:38

  26. I did all three, then became an Analysis support tutor in my 4th year, and wept through that as well.

    16 Nov 2006, 08:39

  27. Analysis I, II and III were a pain but at least reasonable(ish), it’s when you try Applied Analysis that you wonder what on earth you’ve done to deserve sitting an exam that awful.

    16 Nov 2006, 09:41

  28. Thanks for the warnings about analysis – I’m obviously not going to survive!

    16 Nov 2006, 11:40

  29. Dave Sparrow

    “My top tip would be to start blogging regularly”

    That’s rubbish advice. My advice is to stay off blogging as much as possible and do better things.

    16 Nov 2006, 11:53

  30. That’s rubbish advice. My advice is to stay off blogging as much as possible and do better things.

    As I have explained before, I am using this blog primarily as a democracy tool. If I was to stop blogging then how exactly could I be accountable to you guys?

    Any tips would be more than welcome but please don’t use the comments section to dis my blog or my choice of what I do in my free time.

    16 Nov 2006, 12:47

  31. And there we all were thinking that dissing people’s blogs was the sole purpose of Warwick Blogs’ comments feature…

    16 Nov 2006, 20:49

  32. No, the sole purpose of WB is to marvel at how many more comments I’ve put on the system than everyone else.

    Well, everyone except Mannion, but he’s a leg end.

    16 Nov 2006, 22:46

  33. Alicia

    Only a leg end…that’s rather tame for you isn’t it, Luke?

    16 Nov 2006, 22:53

  34. I should know this already, having been a blogger for many seasons now, but how does one ascertain the number of comments they’ve placed (as per Luke comment 32)?

    16 Nov 2006, 23:49

  35. Amit… I ashamed to know you in real life :( Your lag of bloggy knowledge shames be.
    On the right /> ps – biggest photo in the woooooooorld

    17 Nov 2006, 00:41

  36. Hot dang… what went wrong there… Crap. Shot meself in the foot.
    Amit – go to “About me” on your blog homepage. It’s on the right.

    scuttles off ashamed

    17 Nov 2006, 00:42

  37. Alicia

    Kerri, I think you’ve made some very good points and I admire your enthusiasm and public spiritedness but I think you have set yourself a gargantuan task. I feel tired just reading about all your comimitments. I’m sorry to have strayed from topic so much before and have decided to forgive Luke in view of what he’s been through in the past i.e. Analysis 1 and 2, he pulled out at just the right time…linear analysis was evil, I weep just thinking about it.

    17 Nov 2006, 08:01

  38. Gav: I always assumed that was the number of comments other people had placed on your blog, followed by the number of comments you had placed on your own blog, rather than the number of comments you had placed in the blogging community as a whole. Bit ambiguous isn’t it?

    17 Nov 2006, 10:31

  39. I thought so too, but then realised that would be dippy.

    17 Nov 2006, 12:16

  40. charlotte

    I’m glad you were OK when luke called you a you-know-what, Alicia. The other night my chest was covered in spots—had to have 2 days off school!

    17 Nov 2006, 12:34

  41. Alicia

    Yes, me too.

    17 Nov 2006, 16:47

  42. Anon

    Also, have as much sex as possible cos once you leave uni it kinda dries up…

    17 Nov 2006, 17:39

  43. Like your thinking, Anon, but that would kind of go against my religious beliefs.

    17 Nov 2006, 17:57

  44. anon 2

    If Anon. above was female then the drying up thing sounds painful – friction burns, ouch

    17 Nov 2006, 18:45

  45. anon 3

    Kerri, don’t listen to them, nothing dries out, stick to your beliefs, it’s worth the wait, please believe me!

    17 Nov 2006, 19:29

  46. This must be asked: what are the (lucky) 11 societies?

    I’m a very bad person to be giving advice about how to handle your Maths degree but I can at least comment from my mistakes. Regarding Analysis and everything else (because once you hit the second year everything else is just as bad as Analysis is now – which isn’t even that bad once you get into it, by exam time you’ll be happy and confident about it) make sure you do some good reading of textbooks. I know that sounds boring but even just missing one lecture a week and spending the time seriously reading a textbook will do wonders. Of course, if you can make all your lectures and still squeeze in a few hours textbook reading a week you’ll be onto a winner. Learn to read fast and take in concepts quickly, even if you don’t understand them perfectly first time – just plough on and let it sink in. Easier said than done but an absolutely invaluable skill.

    What I absolutely advise AGAINST is reading those textbooks a bit and thinking “hey, this is way more efficient than turning up to lectures, screw lectures!”. In my case that worked for a few months until I just stopped reading and, er, stopped learning too. Bottom line: getting comfortable with reading textbooks to teach you Maths is great, but a strong lecture conscience will keep you tuned in.

    I thought some of the comments this entry spawned were really good by the way.

    17 Nov 2006, 22:44

  47. The 11 societies are (in no particular order) debating, craft, Conservatives, Christian Focus, speak, maths, physics, maths/phys, volunteers, atomic (though only for the socials), international current affairs.

    18 Nov 2006, 14:46

  48. Wow, there’s a maths society and a physics society and a maths/physics society!! :D

    18 Nov 2006, 17:25

  49. Isaac Newton

    Yeah – they’re kind of like the People’s Judean Front/People’s Front of Judea

    18 Nov 2006, 21:23

  50. Re: comment 49,
    I’m really hoping the original Isaac Newton hasn’t decided to come back from the dead and haunt me by commenting on my blog – it’s bad enough we have to know his 3 laws of motion for mechanics. I can never tell which one’s which out of his first and third laws. I think we should form a committee to overturn annoying laws of physics, like we have one to overturn laws of law if the need arises. It would make physics a lot easier if nothing else.

    18 Nov 2006, 22:28

  51. AJ Brown

    Heya Kerri!

    I just wanted to say congrats on getting so incredibly involved in every aspect of University life. I’ve been reading through some blogs today (kinda part of my job as Democracy officer) and I’ve found your entries and comments to be some of the most interesting on all of Warwick Blogs.

    As to the comments made about Union Democracy on this entry, I would encourage all of you to fill in the “Over 2 U” survey (a link is on the Union website). This survey is your opportunity to tell the Sabbs what you like and what you hate about the Union. We’re trying to get more feedback than ever before and then do something about it!

    Anyway, keep on going Kerri – sounds like you’re having a great time :)

    AJ x

    19 Nov 2006, 13:36

  52. Isaac Newton

    My theories have already kind of been overturned (or at least superceded) by Einstein.

    The laws of physics are either right or wrong – it’s not a matter of opinion.

    19 Nov 2006, 15:51

  53. Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

    19 Nov 2006, 15:55

  54. Isaac Newton

    ho ho – James you scamp <;)

    that’s a winking smiley face with a hat if any of you out there aren’t good at the interweb

    19 Nov 2006, 16:12

  55. Response to recent comments:

    Firstly,

    The laws of physics are either right or wrong – it’s not a matter of opinion.

    I was only stating that it would be easier if we could repeal the laws of physics. I know we can’t. Perhaps people in general do not get my light-hearted stance on issues.

    Secondly,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, AJ. Anyone who reads this blog will know that my main aim is to be accountable to the students. I see no point in being involved in Union democracy if you do not get the whole “democracy” bit so I made this one of my main aims. I feel also that more people will want to get involved if they see that Union policy actually does affect them and is not just passed by a few die-hards in a room on a Tuesday evening 3 times each term.

    If there is anyone out there who is in any way disillusioned by Union democracy, then I will encourage you to come along to a council meeting (next one’s in week 9 – though it is listed under “ents” on the Union website) and see how relevant it is to you. It would also be really good to see some of those who think they don’t care re-evaluating their stance and trying to make a positive difference for the greater good of everyone so that more people care. The chance to make a positive difference to all you guys, even if you do not notice it, is why I decided to stand. I cannot emphasise enough how much I have gained from this. Remember, it is your Union, have your say (and don’t leave it to the die-hards who turn up at council meetings 3 times each term).

    19 Nov 2006, 18:13

  56. I’ll just wade into this huge debate thing going on here by saying that Union Democracy just isn’t relevant for the average student. Sure we all care that students elsewhere in the world can’t get access to education, or that somewhere in some very large company, someone is doing something naughty, but frankly, I care more about things that directly effect me. Its only natural.

    The truth is that most of the Union’s democratic structures are superfluous and only serve to ‘rubber stamp’ what a minority of students think, extrapolating them over the majority.

    I think we need to focus on letting people know what the Union should be used for and how it can help, then students would use it in an appropriate way (having a stance on abortion for example, is not something the Union needs (it implies all 16,000 students think the same way (they don’t!)))

    22 Nov 2006, 08:49

  57. Steven Jones thinks that:

    having a stance on abortion for example, is not something the Union needs (it implies all 16,000 students think the same way (they don’t!))

    In which he seems to forget that a large part of the Union’s purpose is to provide welfare for its members. A significant number of those members get pregnant and it’s pretty important that they feel confident their Union, and its welfare services, will support them when they do. That’s why it’s important that the Union state its belief that women (including its members) should have a right to take whatever option they feel is best for them. That’s the only stance the Union takes at the moment. The Union doesn’t have a policy to say abortion is right any more than it has a policy to say abortion is wrong. It has a policy in order to say its members should have a choice.

    This isn’t some abstract and pointless argument, students (lots of students) get pregnant and some of them really aren’t comfortable going talking to any organisation they aren’t sure is going to be totally supportive of them. A Union with a policy saying a woman has a right to choose shows its willingness to support those students in those circumstances; a Union will a policy of taking “no stance” doesn’t, supporting someone having an abortion means you take the stance that having an abortion isn’t wrong. That’s the fact of the situation, like it or not.

    22 Nov 2006, 12:38

  58. Oh, and anyone who thinks the Union having a policy on something means all its members think the same way is an idiot (I realise Steven doesn’t actually think that, but is saying others might). I don’t think the Union should be constrained in what it does by the need not to confuse them; how many people without the intelligence to realise that not every Warwick student is going to share a belief will ever read a single University of Warwick Students’ Union Policy?

    22 Nov 2006, 12:44

  59. With reference to the whole Union democracy debate,

    The Students’ Union mission statement says:

    This Union is directed by its members and aims to enhance the experience of students whilst at the University of Warwick

    Anyone who is able to explain how this is possible without the democratic structures, then please let me know. I would be really interested.

    It is amazing the debate that came from one single point in my entry. Though I will still stand by what I said. I’m eternally grateful to the guy at the freshers’ fair who encouraged me to stand for council.

    23 Nov 2006, 11:28

  60. This Union is directed by its members and aims to enhance the experience of students whilst at the University of Warwick

    Anyone who is able to explain how this is possible without the democratic structures, then please let me know. I would be really interested.

    Well, you could have some sort of dictatorship, whereby one or maybe seven people listen to what they think the students want, and then do whatever the hell they want anyway.

    I think the current structures just aren’t good enough. Councillors feel they don’t represent anyone, or rather, they don’t know who they’re supposed represent, students feel they’re ignored by referenda, and those in charge exploit the weaknesses in those systems to their own end.

    Toward Nich: I really didn’t mean to drag the whole abortion thing up again. I honestly don’t think the Union needs policy on this. If the policy passed at referendum didn’t exist (or were lapsed) then the only thing that would change is that the pregnant students fund (with nothing in it) would close. Its an issue that students are so divided on, even if women should have a choice, that having a policy that does say the majority (8001) of students believe one way or another, is unhelpful.

    23 Nov 2006, 14:23

  61. seven people listen to what they think the students want, and then do whatever the hell they want anyway

    Actually there are nine other people there to prevent them doing precisely this. From my personal experience, it can be difficult at times for the nine to get their point across to the seven, in certain circumstances, but their mere presence ensures that the situation is far from a dictatorship.

    those in charge exploit the weaknesses in those systems to their own end

    Is it really those in charge who exploit the system? Or is it just those who happen to know the system? I suspect more likely the latter. That the two sets of people heavily overlap (the second tends to be restricted to the first) is nothing but an unfortunate feature, one which is in no way deliberate. Everyone who has anything whatsoever to do with “the system” would rather this were not the case. If not then they shouldn’t be in charge.

    23 Nov 2006, 21:59

  62. Comment 51 is a joke.
    Surely.
    Please.

    24 Nov 2006, 19:14

  63. BA Baracus

    Probably not Vincent

    25 Nov 2006, 11:49

  64. You know, I’m not disillusioned after the smoking ban. Slightly more cynical, perhaps, but I’m working on that.

    The fact is, smoking in public places will be banned by the Health Act 2006 in any case – at the time of the referendum, the question was, would the Union try to dodge it by claiming to be a private members’ club? As it turned out, that proposed exemption was defeated by the Commons.

    Still, the smoking policy passed by the Union will certainly be influencing the plans for the new Union South building. It has also influenced the enforcement of the current non-smoking areas in the Union. It could well be influencing the University’s policy on smoking, as well.

    (Oh, and Analysis is great, in a masochistic kind of way.)

    26 Nov 2006, 15:25


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