Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Oxbridge-fallout effect

I'm a little bitter about the Oxbridge system - they absorb all the best & most interesting people who learn from each other, benefit enormously and are better people for it. But those who miss out find themselves at the top of their classes elsewhere - a prime position for learning squat all at university (you learn half the useful stuff at uni from your peers)*.

But this post isn't about that, it's about people suddenly introduced to Oxbridge peeps. I'm one of those people who have always been around people from Oxford or Cambridge university. I never went to either university other than jumping over walls late at night.

Oxbridgey people usually:
  • are confident
  • make the correct decisions apparently effortlessly
  • are in the right place with the right contacts
  • know when to say "i don't know" and when to bullshit
  • know when others are bullshitting
The problem comes when someone suddenly comes into contact with this class of people and tries to fit it without the necessary perquisites. This leads to class of people around Oxford and Cambridge people who quickly and confidently make the wrong decisions. This is usually because they haven't given it any thought, but are trying to act like their counterparts, or don't know the right people in the right circles and have drowned in a sea of bullshit.

It's taken me a while to get used to, but the only way I've found to deal with this natural response to the those smug Oxbridge bastards is to take it slowly, concentrate on what you think the important problems are, be over-ready to stay "I don't know" and never, ever, bullshit (except in blog posts).

*Other european countries seem to sidestep this issue by not having these mega-elite establishments - talent gets spread a little more.

1 comment:

  1. The necessary perquisites? Like the difference between the words "perquisites" and "prerequisites"?

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