An appeal from a sour senior

Student lore records the mysterious phenomenon of the ‘zure ouderejaars’. It’s a terrifying fate I’m desperately trying, and failing, to avoid. 

Most students come into this university young, healthy and happy. If everything goes well, they also leave that way, with a truck load of memories and a degree certificate to boot. Given the right (or rather, wrong) circumstances, however, they could end up as ‘zure ouderejaars’, or ‘sour seniors’. 

Sour seniors are formerly normal students, who due to their advanced university-age (usually third year or higher), and embittered by their numerous unaddressed frustrations, have turned into chronic whiners. From the vending machine personnel to the university top brass, nobody escapes their wrath. 

For years, I poked fun at them for their stubbornness. I ridiculed their insistence that absolutely nothing was being run right, and mocked their lack of willingness to do anything about it. I lived a carefree life in my judgmental bubble, until I woke up one fine morning and realised – I am one of them. 

The more I thought about it, the deeper the realisation became:

I’m always a bit irked when someone messages me once a year for a vote, even when I know that there are others who never contact me, and that I ought to be thankful that we have a voice at all.  

I’m always a bit irked when someone messages me once a year for a vote

I’m overcome with disbelief whenever someone claims that the increasing number of scooters in the city is anything short of a veritable plague.

It also upsets me that internationals were invited here (in many cases, at four times the price), only to then be blamed for the falling quality of education, and for the lack of houses that probably wouldn’t have wanted them anyway. 

Add on the insane and often inflexible requirements placed on staff and students over the past two years, and I’m positively indignant. 

Having noticed these shocking geriatric sentiments in myself, I decided to do something about it, which was to completely ignore them. And I would have been more than willing to continue to put on my red nose and dance for the cameras too, but I now reckon that I can do one better – complain. 

Sure, there’s not a single concrete solution mentioned anywhere in this article, and sure, it’s probably too little and too late. All valid criticisms, that I will momentarily disregard.

Instead, there’s a short appeal to the candidates for the university council: don’t forget to mention it on LinkedIn, but please remember there are real and serious problems that we face, and you can truly help. 

HRYDAI SAMPALLY

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