It’s now a hotly anticipated event with the ability to divide the nation.

As people flock to have an integral part in it, comment on it and discuss the attributes and flaws of those involved, it’s become a huge ordeal that permeates society. No, I’m not talking Brexit; ITV2’s Love Island is back.

After hitting screens once again last week after its most-watched series in 2017, whether you’re the type to tune in nightly or shun the vain, bikini-clad silliness of it all, it’s hard to ignore the programme’s widespread reach. In news that some on Twitter have found a “shocking sign-of-the-times”, the programme’s production team revealed more than 85,000 people applied to find love on the island this year. It is alleged this figure means there were more people applying to the 2018 show than there were British citizens who applied to top universities Oxford and Cambridge combined.

Now, at first glance this statistic may have the power to shock, which indeed it has. There have been some reactions suggesting, indignantly, that this sums up Millennials’ lack of ambition and desire for an easy route to fame and fortune. Are young people really that desperate for attention, shunning academia instead, they argue?

For anyone who has managed to avoid tuning in and getting hooked, the premise of Love Island is simple. A group of heterosexual single men and women move to a luxury villa abroad in the hope of finding love – and a £50k prize to share among the winning couple. With twists, surprise evictions and new people added along the way, every move is watched.

It can be brutal and unless you’ve been hitting the gym every day for your entire adult life, it’s unlikely you’ll make it anywhere near the villa. Yet at its best, it can be funny and sweet when any real connections do transpire.

It’s a modern day Big Brother and trash TV at its finest, but I can’t help thinking there is a classist undertone with the assumption that everyone should aspire to academia. Oxbridge is renowned for being elitist institutions that take very few candidates from socially deprived backgrounds.

Last year, Oxford and Cambridge universities were found to have regressed on socio-economic diversity, with more than four in five students coming from the most privileged groups.

The idea that more people are finding other ways to make money and take part in TV shows shouldn’t incite a sense of shame for the individuals, but the country. Until things move forward and a level playing field for rich and poor is achieved, we have no right to scorn those who find alternative paths.

Whilst Love Island isn’t necessarily something young people should aspire to, finding alternative paths when getting a place at a top university isn’t an option should be encouraged.