The university system in the United Kingdom is fairly famous. Over 100 institutions offer numerous courses that bear the weight of the hopes of millions of students. The UK also offers the opportunity to apply for university at a certain level. The league table gives prospective students the opportunity to view where certain institutions stand in comparison to others and allow them to make an informed choice when applying.
The universities in the upper echelon of this league are known as Russell Group Universities. They are designed for the most ambitious students to flex their academic muscles. However, what sort of pressures come with a place at one of these institutions?
Eyes on grades
I am currently attending a Russell Group university and, as such, can speak with some confidence about the pressures associated with that attendance. First of all, there is the academic pressure. These universities have worked hard to obtain their status and, as such, want to remain top dogs. Because of this, they will place a lot of pressure on their students to get the grades they feel their place at that university merits. That is most certainly a prominent and potentially grinding pressure for students.
The second pressure comes from family. While I would hope that all families are nothing but supportive of those who attend Russell Group universities I cannot help but wonder whether families may apply a certain degree of pressure on students. Obtaining a place at one of these institutions is most certainly a great opportunity. An opportunity families will be keen that their student members make the most use of. Whether it’s wanting to make their family proud, or feeling they owe it to them to perform well and obtain top marks, there is always pressure.
Finally, it would be important to note the pressure that comes from an individual’s peers at a Russell Group University. I can speak from experience that I have at times felt a certain degree of imposter syndrome when surrounded constantly by intelligent and driven people. While this may be an individual insecurity I would be very surprised if I were alone. Feeling worthy enough to merit a place at any university can be tough, let alone at a Russell Group institution.
So really there are several pressures that can be placed on a student attending one of the UK’s top universities. These pressures will vary from person to person and, of course, for some a certain degree of pressure can be a superb motivator. That being said, I do think it’s right that we shed light on the stresses and strains that can be associated with those attending these universities. Hopefully, we can all take note and lend a helping hand where it’s needed.