I'm a student, and I'm voting Lib Dem. These two statements should not forge some irreconcilable conflict, but to many of my peers, they do. When I announce my political predilection, I'm regularly met with a furrowed brow and a medley of phrases such as, 'don't you feel betrayed?' or 'they just let us down.'
Recently the National Union of Students (NUS) released their pre-general election campaign for 2015, a tradition that is supposed to mobilise the youth vote and champion student politics on a national stage - however this year's campaign is less remarkable for the promotion of student involvement in the democratic process and more for partisan alienation of those who don't subscribe to a very specific ideology.
If there is one thing I have learned from my degree (Archaeology and Anthropology) it is that no one ever fits an 'ideal' type such as the 'hyper-social student' that the media presents. And so, instead of creating a breeding ground for social anxiety and even a damaging retreat into isolation, perhaps we could take a bit more time to do or see things a bit more inclusively.
It is true, politicians break promises. We all know this and should probably have worked it out a long time ago. But before starting a student campaign to ruin the Lib Dems, surely it is worth taking a step back and looking at the promises they did deliver on?
For the young people of Britain who have been deserted by the current political system, nobody else is going bring us in from the cold. If we want change, we're going to have to go and knock down the door.
An education system that actively choses to value the voices, practices and methodologies of privilege is damaging to everyone involved, but particularly to students from marginalised groups. The need for a free education comes directly out of this: education should be a source of liberation, not oppression.
It was only a matter of time before a party busted out the big guns and spoke about their policies regarding university fees. Queue Ed Miliband and Labour's revolutionary plans to lower fees from £9,000 a year to £6,000.
There is a huge number of creative people that make important, thought-provoking art - on a shoestring, in the back of the pub, after their full-time job, you name it. But art market is competitive and with the advance of Internet - ever changing. We cannot allow creativity and art to become a pursuit solely for financially privileged.
The cost of UK undergraduate education is likely always to be a political judgement. Somehow, we need to achieve a balance between political interest and institutional autonomy in a way that meets the Miliband tests: equally available, no hidden disincentives, at properly funded universities.
Universities keep trying telling us about the importance of cutting costs. We are living in an age of austerity, and a measly £9000 a year in tuition fees per student is apparently not sufficient to maintain the high standards of education these institutions supposedly provide us with. Why is it then, that they find it appropriate to continue to reward their senior staff with extortionately large salaries and performance related bonuses that are dubious at best?
Engineering educators must utilise young peoples' passion, interest, and reach out, to their dreams by means of diversifying and inspiring engineering to the next generation of engineers and scientists.
Despite a sickening slew of Labour loyalists now wishing to preen Labour's red plumage, and a depressing amount of students seemingly mesmerised by the sham feathers, we should be under no illusions what has happened here: a slightly less neoliberal party has offered a slightly less neoliberal policy.
We find ourselves mere weeks from the General Election in May, and yet the policies that will form the blueprint for higher education remain murky and confused.
Many current students at Bournemouth University appear that to have now accepted £9,000 tuition fees as the norm and are even prepared for the possibility that the next Government could increase them further. They described fees to me as "money that you don't see", and were instead far more concerned with day-to-day survival...
Students as a demographic have always been, and probably always will be, protest voters. They crave the anti-establishment parties which claim to offer some sort of utopia. But, it is not a coincidence that the less power a party has, the more outlandish promises they will make in the run up to an election.
I see a generation weary of business of usual. I see a generation that knows what it wants and is beginning to get mobilised and fight for it. I see a generation set to topple the old order, banish the archaic and the corrupt and the broken, and usher in a progressive future. I see a generation set to pull us back from the brink and change the world. Westminster sees it too, and nothing could terrify it more.