Problems with UBC: Snooty zombie students

8 03 2013

“Well, even if construction is annoying, and the AMS doesn’t give a shit about me, and my education is poor for all the tuition that I pay, I know I’ll be in the same boat with the other 45,000 students on campus.  At least I’ll make some friends — I hear Vancouverites are friendly and as a university campus, students are always lively.”

I will be honest.  I have been ripping apart UBC and all its failings, but this one is a littler harder to be rip on, mainly because it’s difficult to specify what UBC students are like as opposed to students in general.

My first experience involved my older sister, who graduated from UBC many years ago.  During my time at Langara College, she would always talk-down to me, making fun of me for wasting my time at a college and saying my Associate Degree was “nothing”.  Because she never said what was so bad about going to a college, she came off as elitist and just plain annoying.  In fact, many UBC students have this air of superiority about them, as if they’re smarter than everyone else who goes to any other school in Vancouver.

I would say their choice to go to UBC is reflection of their intelligence.  Which is to say they’re often sheeple.

As well, there is a noticeable keep-to-yourself attitude in Vancouver, and especially with young people.  I remember when UBC did a lip-dub featuring students, a user commented saying it was about time the UBC united and did something together, as it was a very fractured community.

I believe part of the reason why UBC students are anti-social is because of the campus location: it is almost as far west as you can possibly go in Vancouver.  UBC is also not technically part of Vancouver, and and has its own police and certain voting regulations.  So it’s no wonder that sometimes it feels as if UBC is on an island on its own, a city of young people, far away from the real world.

Yes, there are many clubs.  But the problem is that for whatever reason, students aren’t much interested in joining these clubs.  I’ve joined two clubs in September, and I have yet to actually participate in either of them (although the Film Society isn’t so much a club as it is getting discounts for movies).

I think the problem with the lack of student engagement in a social level is the emphasis on schoolwork.  There’s just way too much homework/reading/studying to do anything fun.  And around midterm season, you can basically forget about doing anything fun with anyone — people go and hide their faces in textbooks for days on end.  Maybe that’s the reason for the AMS attempting to build a microbrewery (a separate issue I have, but that’s another story): to get everyone to lighten the fuck up and talk to each other (or if they’re talking, it’s always about grades and/or assignments, never about personal things that real friends talk about).

Again, perhaps this is just a student problem, not a UBC problem.  On the other hand, I think this comment, in an article about UBC’s anti-social nature, sums up the school’s mentality pretty well:

UBC makes it clear that its focus is on research, not on students. That’s pretty much the heart of the problem; campus is a bunch of offices, with a few exceptions that feel forced or contrived — and they’re packed, because they’re all there is. Maybe the new SUB will help, but then, too, we’re a commuter university, surrounded by parks and houses. There’s no close-by town area where non-res students can afford to live in higher density and where rent is low enough that kitchy stores and venues can afford to open. The Wesbrook is just another high-priced glass-and-brick Vancouver corporate development, absolutely soulless. So students don’t hang around; campus is dead after 5:00pm.

So if you’re looking for a school that is flooded with pacified students during the day, who walk around silently and avoid eye contact, and then is empty by night — or if you’re interested in what the zombie apocalypse might look like, look no further.

— Taking the You out of UBC

This is sad because it’s true.

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