The Real Reason I Rejected Cambridge

Client: The Guardian
Date: 20 June 2011
Medium: Print Article

Brief

After the media caricatured me as a “gangster rapper” (my music is perhaps the polar opposite), misquoted my words and publicly ridiculed me for daring to forego an opportunity to study at Cambridge University, The Guardian asked me to write the real reasons behind my decision for their ‘Comment is Free’ section.

In the article, I explain that aside from preferring the Sociology course at the London School of Economics as opposed to the Politics, Psychology and Sociology course at Cambridge, I also thought it more economically efficient to remain in London. Regrettably, I then subscribed to the meritocratic ideal, writing:

“Indeed, from my personal experience, Cambridge appears to be meritocratic and non-discriminatory, although the demographics of current undergraduate students may suggest differently. Some of my peers view Oxbridge as a desirable goal to which some aspire, but others see it as an elitist institution; perhaps due to the false belief that it is impossible for them to receive offers to study there. People from deprived areas must assess their way of thinking and begin to understand that society is becoming increasingly meritocratic and that anything is possible with hard work.”

I now know that not to be the case by virtue of hindsight, the development of my critical social consciousness that came as a result of ageing and studying, and the skills to better articulate my reservations. I can now clearly see how the gross underrepresentation in ethnic minority/state school students is indeed indisputable evidence for society’s lack of meritocracy. Furthermore, after experiencing microaggressions at an institution as diverse as the London School of Economics, which is based in a cosmopolitan city, I can now also articulate the distaste I felt towards the prospect of being studying somewhere as culturally monotonous as Oxbridge. I am currently working on an article which further expands my updated thoughts.