Column: Life's successes and failures stop with you
A former graduate is suing Oxford University over claims that '˜appalling bad boring tuition' meant he got a 2:1, instead of a first class honours degree.
Faiz Siddiqui, a modern history graduate, says he would have had a career as an international commercial lawyer had he not been held back by his final grade.
Now Oxford University has been ordered to face a landmark trial after Mr Siddiqui filed a £1 million compensation claim after he graduated in June 2000.
Mr Siddiqui later trained as a solicitor, but says his life and career have been blighted by the grade. Mr Justice Kerr ruled the uni had a case to answer and a trial should take place.
If successful, Mr Siddiqui’s case could pave the way for thousands of other students to launch similar claims. At a previous hearing, the university admitted they had had ‘difficulties’ teaching Asian history in the year Mr Siddiqui graduated because more than half of the faculty teaching staff were on sabbatical leave at the same time.
Who knows what will happen, but it’ll be an interesting case to watch. It did, however, set me thinking what and who I could sue for ‘failures’ in my life.
For example, maybe I could sue my PE teacher? Okay, I wasn’t particularly sporty, but with more encouragement maybe I could’ve been the next Jess Ennis instead of the skinny lass shivering at the end of the line? What about cookery? I once baked a ‘beautiful Easter bonnet cake’. It was dotted with yellow, pipe-cleaner chicks to hide joins in the icing. Yes, I could’ve been Mary Berry, had I not have disgraced myself with a split Swiss roll. My mother’s on my sue list, too. With age,
I have finally inherited her (poor) eyesight. I used to have the eyes of a hawk, but now I have the eyes of a mole with cataracts. Hey, I could’ve even had a career as a supermodel if I’d been blessed with the looks, bone structure, legs, and height.
The job of an international hair model could've also beckoned, but I inherited my Irish grandmother’s depressing thin hair. I ended up being a writer, not because I’m particularly gifted, but because I worked hard. I put the hours in until I’d honed my skill.
I’m not saying Mr Siddiqui doesn’t deserve to win his case, quite the opposite. If the standard of teaching wasn’t up to scratch, then fair play to him.
But I feel successes and failures stop with me. Life is tough, but no one is responsible for your happiness or success, only you.