Students: Tarred with the Same Brush.
I recently read an article on here about how Oldfield Park is changing for the worse, and one woman's negative experiences with the students that live on her road. She says they are up at all hours and when someone asked them to turn down their music they were abusive and rude... Now clearly this is unacceptable, however I have news for the people of Bath: that group of people didn't behave like that because they're students, they did so because they're inconsiderate, obnoxious, unpleasant human beings. And what's more, those two are NOT the same thing...
I am sick of being scowled at, looked down upon and accused purely because I'm 21 and study in the local area. The vast majority of students, myself and my friends included, are not the gross stereotype that the local residents would like us to be; I enjoy going out possibly more than anyone I've met, but I'm never loud on the way back, I don't start fights, or vandalise anything, or hurl abuse at my neighbours.... And I don't drink. I know, hard to comprehend, a student that doesn't drink AND still enjoys going out, but it's true. In this respect, fair enough, I'll accept that I'm an anomaly, but even all my friends who do drink are still respectful and sensible (or at least with someone who's sensible at all times!). We do not wilfully cause trouble or create difficulty, we do not derive pleasure from making residents' lives a misery, we simply study locally and enjoy going out. The thing that residents do not seem to realise is that WE ARE THE MAJORITY.
I respect that it must be tiresome to have that disruptive minority so close to home, but my issue comes from the lack of differentiation; rather than introduce themselves and accept that maybe this group of students could be something other than the monstrosities previously encountered, residents simply write everyone off as STUDENTS and therefore CRETINS. I have never felt so judged as I do living in Oldfield Park, and it's not fair that the actions of a few are being made to impact the many who simply wish to get a degree and have fun whilst doing it.
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To put it in some context, my housemates and I (there are four of us, three boys and a girl) were walking back from dinner in town at about 9pm a few weeks ago. As we came up our road, a gentleman (I use the term ironically) came rushing out of his house and shouted at us 'Were you the ones making all the noise the other night?!' We were taken aback, not least of all because no, we were not the ones making all the noise the other night, but also because we were in the middle of a pleasant evening and were not expecting to have to suddenly defend ourselves to a man we had never met. So we said 'No, sorry, it wasn't us' and went to continue walking, at which point the gentleman came right up close to us, and proceeded to look us up and down very slowly and very suspiciously, pausing to examine each of our faces in turn. Eventually, he said 'Oh no, I don't think it was you' at which point I, slightly miffed at being cross-examined for no reason, said 'No, it wasn't, as we said. Have a nice evening.' and the four of us walked away before he could respond. It was an extremely unpleasant way to be spoken to and treated... Had the gentleman come up to us, introduced himself and said something like 'Do you know anything about the noise the other night?' it would've instantly made for a healthier exchange.
This is my point: we are not bad people and we are tired of being accused for the actions of a few. If a mother bumped into you with her child's buggy without apologising, you wouldn't immediately despise everyone with children. If a waiter is rude to you, you don't take it upon yourself to hate everyone in the service industry. If you got a papercut you would be unlikely to never read a book again... I'm being facetious but the fact remains; why then, when a handful of students cause a problem and display antisocial tendencies, is it acceptable to judge, openly hate and look down upon every single student? All it does is create an unnecessary tension.
It doesn't make us overly willing to be considerate members of the community if all our efforts amount to us being considered troublemakers anyway... However, we'll continue to be, because we're decent, mature, respectful young adults, who in my experience are often far more pleasant to deal with than the very people doing all the finger-pointing. I've not once been yelled at, or had a rude note left on my car, or been glared at on my way out of the house by a fellow student; no, all of those are examples of residents' behaviour towards me, purely because I am a student. It is possible that the residents need to reconsider their stance and certainly their actions, as the supposedly atrocious behaviour the evil students apparently display towards them, making their lives a misery, is not in fact a million miles aways from the way they treat us. Maybe Oldfield Park's troubles aren't our fault after all...