Wrong umbilical chord

October 25, 1996

Jennie Bristow portrays university students as people who have to pass "a couple of relatively minor exams at the end of the year" (try telling that to all those students facing their finals) and finds it hard to believe that student life is any harder than it used to be.

I am sure Ms Bristow is well aware of mature students with families to support who are on the financial breadline. Students without families to support are on the breadline too. It is not uncommon for students to be working almost full-time just to make ends meet.

As a lecturer, I have noticed the quite dramatic rise in student hardship over the past five years and also the resultant stress. This is not what Bristow prefers to call "life" but a very real problem.

Ms Bristow belittles student counsellors and accuses them of "scraping the bottom of the barrel of things to advise on". Student counsellors provide a crucial service and to knock them in this way is certainly uncalled for. Ms Bristow does not represent the typical student. She is indeed privileged that she can supplement her own student income by writing regular columns for The THES.

Mark Griffiths Senior lecturer in psychology Nottingham Trent University

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