Candidate blog: UAS students in a pressure cooker
A children’s song says “I am a cup, a tiny teapot, a giant mixer and a pressure cooker”. We sang this song at school, and a sad percentage of students related to this statement, especially to the pressure cooker.
Many UAS students are open about experiencing exhaustion and the pressure to perform, they need to graduate on time. After three and a half years you’ll graduate and are able to finally look back to what you achieved. This pressure comes from the tubular structure of our education system, students’ personal finances and the funding of universities of applied sciences.
Our society appreciates a high level of education, and many fields need more professionals. Because of this we heavily directed to aim to higher education. At the same time the competition between applicants is tough. There are way more applicants than open spots. Many feel the pressure to have high grades, and not take any years off between different stages of their education. No time to rest. And once you get into a UAS, you are reminded of how lucky you are to be ther. How important it is to graduate on time and follow the curriculum. This all, even if true, is is added pressure. People get tired, but feel like it’s not possible to take a break. Student and guidance councellors are loaded with work.
On top of the pressure to graduate fast, UAS students are very familiar with stressing over money. The cost of living is on the rise. The financial aid that students get consists of student loan, and the loan rebate depends on if you graduate on time. You could obviously add to your income by working, but you can’t earn too much, or you’ll lose your financial aids. Whatever you decide to do money vise, there’s pressure. And now, a friendly reminder from the personnel of your UAS, you need to graduate fast. Why? Because the funding of the UAS system depends on students graduating.
Lets get back to the student, that stands in their graduation ceremony with a diploma in one hand and a glass of sparkling wine in the other. Wondering, how they got there. If this student has been suported thoroughout their studies with welfare, and the rhythm of their studies, they are very likely happy with their achievements. If most of the pressure has been lifted by personalizing their studies, supporting their mental health, they have been able to advance their know-how and skills. If there’s no support, no personalized studies, this person will most likely relate to the pressure cooker. They will question their abilities and feel exhausted.
The universities of applied sciences were created to cater for the working life. But how does that happen, if what the UAS’s are able to provide are students like the second example. Exhausted, unsure students. This is where we need to come in. We won’t be able to change our societal norms and attitudes instantly. But what we need to do is demand a better income for students, enough resources into the support services, and quality education that can provide the working life with skilled work force. So not one student will feel like they are in a pressure cooker.
Writer: Halla Kokkonen, candidate for SAMOK’s board for 2023