Vicky is 20 and in her second year of an English Literature with Creative Writing degree at University of Kent at Canterbury. When she's been surgically removed from her iPod, you'll find her reading a lot, buying clothes and shoes, or in the front row of an underground gig.
Sick of getting low marks for your essays? Don't despair - it might just be a horrible outbreak of Chronic Low Grade Syndrome - and Vicky knows all about it.
During my first year at university, I came across a strange phenomenon. Some tutors consistently gave me low essay grades, while others consistently gave me higher grades. After talking to my friends, we discovered we were all in the same boat. It seemed that some students in our seminar groups were more favoured than others, gaining consistently high marks.
Of course, I could admit that I deserve these constant low grades, but I don't, which is a shocking realization for any university student to deal with. I've always tried hard, and so have the other students who suffered from Chronic Low Grade Syndrome (CLGS). In fact, my seminar leaders were all marking us so differently that there had to be a problem with the marking system rather than our beautiful essays.
This year, our university's Campaigns Working Group (CWG), a society dedicated to campaigning about, and building up awareness of, issues affecting students, set up the Anonymous Marking Campaign, and I wish I could have credit for the idea, but after discovering my strange phenomenon I just sat back and accepted it, rather than taking action.
The Anonymous Marking Campaign aims to get every student's name replaced on the university computer system with a code or number, which would then be written in place of our names on the front of every essay. This way, our tutors don't know whose work they are marking, so they can't base their marks on how much a student has laughed at their jokes or how many apples they have brought in for them. In other words, if a seminar leader favours one student over another, he can't mark the teacher's pet up and the CLGS sufferer down.
"For once we students need not necessarily blame our own laziness/drunkenness on poor essay performances"
If your grades are not reflecting your input, it may not be your fault. That's right; for once we students need not necessarily blame our own laziness/drunkenness on poor essay performances. If you genuinely feel you've tried your hardest and have improved your work throughout the year, but your marks are not reflecting this, you could be one of the many young sufferers of CLGS.
Students are regarded as lazy and more interested in their social lives than their academic work, but this campaign will prove otherwise. Don't get me wrong - I leave my reading until the night before the seminar (OK, sometimes the hour before), I prefer to have a Jack Daniels or six with my mates than stay in studying, and I only venture in the library if it's to use the internet for music-buying purposes. But I know from experience that nearly all students are at university to learn as well as have a good time. Why else would we bother doing A-levels and then go through the terrifying ordeal of university exams? Indeed, why else would we put the effort into starting a campaign of this sort if we weren't interested in fair marking, getting the best results as possible and reaping the benefits of good, old-fashioned hard work?
Now, after all this writing, I need a Jack and coke...