Boomerang Debate

Proposition: The UCU Tutorial System is Not Effective

PRO – Alba Maselff

Tutors are just another indicator of our pampered UCU lives. If students at the UU can get by without a tutor, why can’t we? Are we incapable of figuring out the prerequisites for our courses? Would we be so much worse off by signing up on our own? At least that would teach us to fend for ourselves and take some responsibility. But no, we shudder at the thought of actually acting like the adults most of just pretend to be.

Instead, we have a tutor to babysit us. Still, how many of your friends have the stories of ending up into the most random courses? “You know, Intro to Law was oversubscribed, but no worries, I put you into Latin.” And tutors’ familiarity with the UCU system is often limited to their own department, if not their own field. Only your tutor teaches math and you want to major in philosophy. Oops!

Even if you don’t expect anything from your tutor, either because you don’t care or have it all figured out, you are forced to deal with them. You have to endure their feigned interest in your academic performance or their holiday stories, and their suggestions considering your future. Suggestions you’ve tried already or that aren’t relevant to you and you’ve tried explaining that, but they just don’t seem to get it. By now you simply smile and nod, and regret having wasted another half hour of your time. Oh well… at least it’s another eight weeks until the next, pointless meeting!

CON – Titia S. Petty

Students don’t have a clue about the time their tutors invest in their tutees’ well-being. They moan about course-enrolment, claiming they could as well do it themselves. But are students familiar with UCU’s complicated administration, involving class sizes, pre-requisites, forms, approvals, exceptions? No, of course not! All we need is a 10-minute talk and we are put into the right classes – we even get multiple reminders, in case we forget!

Sure, it doesn’t always work out, but tutors can hardly be blamed: They want what’s best for us, always try to help us achieve our goals, coming up with alternatives when needed. At all times there is someone looking out for you, making sure you don’t mess up, so you can actually graduate in three years. Even if you are one of those independent, self-reliant UCU’ers who seemingly don’t encounter any problems, your tutor won’t bother you. Rather, they will always be present, available for you to visit them, ready to help.

We might think we can handle everything alone, but everyone needs a chat occasionally, especially with someone other than a fellow student. Your tutor will be willing to listen, share some of their wisdom, and give you a new perspective. Such involvement in your life is priceless. Of course, not everyone is able to establish a close, personal relationship with their tutor – your characters might simply not fit together. Still, you bet they will do their best for you in your three years here; we should be a little more appreciative of having someone look after us like that.


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