If I had a pound for every time someone told me what a ‘waste of money’ Term 3 is, I’d be earning just as much as the average student considers themselves to be losing out during the summer term.

To start, let me just state that I have some serious concerns about the usage of a term like ‘waste of money’. Universities, regardless of how some of them may see it, are not a business. You aren’t a ‘consumer’. You don’t end up as a ‘product’. You are here to learn; not have your windows polished, your top screwed on, and your degree certificate the plastic seal on your box. This isn’t a free market; had it been one, you’d pick your institution based on how many days of Term 3 there were in comparison to the price, and we’d all be dramatically sliding into the clutches of consumerist culture.

I cannot believe I am saying this in the year of our lord 2019: academics are not machines. It really does say something for late-stage capitalism that you can look at a person, sometimes only a few years older than you, and whisper in a monotone – “but why don’t you work more sir, work more, for the same pay.” It also is worth mentioning that the majority of students aren’t aware what Term 3 costs; it is up to the university to split your £9,250 up, it’s not like Year 6 fractions where a third goes into each term. So, if you were still concerned about a ‘waste of money’, you should probably take it up at Northcott House.

Now, once you get over the terribly consumerist language of your question, your sudden longing for learning and the desire to attend lectures magically springs forth.

And about that £9,250. The academics, as seems the common assumptions amongst those who often use the phrase rhyming with ‘paste of honey’, are not the University. Your academics are employed by the university for the work they currently take on. To ask them to take on more work would only inevitably mean you pay more fees, and to ask them to take on more work for the same pay is abhorrent. If the £9,250 of tens of thousands of students were all going directly to the academics, well, my future would be fine and dandy then. Other universities have teaching in Term 3? Other universities pay academics for teaching in Term 3.

Now, once you get over the terribly consumerist language of your question, your sudden longing for learning and the desire to attend lectures magically springs forth. In Term 3, academics have to mark exam papers, moderate them, mark Easter essay deadlines, mark dissertations, and secondarily mark dissertations. This happens with strict deadlines, as the term is only about six weeks long – if you have four exams, the likelihood is that you would not attend classes the days preceding your exams, especially if it was not assessed.

If one wanted teaching in Term 3, it would not be an assessed course and would not have an effect on your degree mark as lecturers are already overloaded with marking. Hence, another Term 3 assessment whilst you’re sitting existing exams will not benefit neither students nor teachers. Modules are usually twelve weeks long; there are only six weeks in Term 3 without allowances for assessment time or marking turnover time. There is a tendency to clamour for the abstract concept of ‘teaching’ without considering the logistics of setting up and running entire modules in such a short time period. Pipe down, for the love of God, just do your revision.

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