People often say that university is the best time of your life but to me… It’s merely an opportunity. I love being poor, hungry, and tired as much as the next guy, but this is a different type of poverty, this is studenthood.
Now, returning readers will have a good insight on what my life is like, but for the newcomers out there… Life is tough.
I’ve had grades come back lower than expected and campaigns fall to nothing, emotional spirals of sadness, and random moments of greatness.
It’s clear the student life, and life in general, forms something of a rollercoaster, where we have good times and bad times, struggles and successes, but the one thing that NEVER changes, is debt.
Being born in London to parents who can drive, I never needed to pay for transport. From 11 and under I was getting dropped to school, or taken to see family or whatever else my mum wanted. From 12 onwards, whilst still practically going everywhere my parents did, I was blessed with the infamous Zip Oyster Card, which gave me power to get from A to B all by myself, 100% for free, with nothing more than a tap – unless using the tube of course, but we don’t talk about that.
People love talking about the £9000 price tag that comes with the tuition for our degrees here in the UK, and you will often hear the faint cry of the student body saying that the rent is too high, but books? Printing? How come no one told me about that?
So far this term, I’ve had to spend money on textbooks, printing lecture notes, groceries and cooking utensils, typical bathroom items, toiletries and house utilities. These things are probably expected expenses when going into higher education, but the list goes on…
A new laptop is essential at uni, where the standard here appears to be the 15″ 2017 MacBook Pro with Touchbar, but for those of us that don’t come from such wealth and privilege, any laptop with an i3 or AMD A5 processor should do the trick – obviously depending on your subject. Not to mention, money for gym and sports teams, alcohol and club entry if you’re into that, transport (usually in the form of Uber, since no one knows where the buses go out here), societies and committees if you choose to join them, gifts for birthdays and ah, the list goes on.
The unexpected expenditure for an extrovert is very, very painful to consider. Not to mention the extortionate rates university accommodation charges for laundry these days – £4 per wash and £1.50 to dry for me personally is completely unreasonable, especially for the mediocre quality of the 45 minute wash.
Unfortunately, most of these expenses are unavoidable unless you choose to travel home frequently to cut food and washing costs, but the cost of travel these days almost makes it not worth it.
Alas, I did a short video on this exact topic here. I don’t go into the issue in half as much depth as I have in this blog post, but if you’re looking for a short 60 second rant about transport and my student struggle so far, please feel free to watch the video, and subscribe to my channel for some more quick witted and thought provoking videos!
Overall, student life isn’t that bad, as I’ve found that there is no real price tag that’ll truly reflect how much there is to learn at university. In truth, your degree is worth little more than a £1000 online course you can find online, or even the hundreds of thousands of videos and tutorials you can find online for free. However, the true ‘uni experience’ of living away from home, for yourself, as well as the friend making process, campaigning or running for roles, or growing mentally from the people you meet, societies you join and struggles you have to face…
These conditions are what really prepares you for life, and will ultimately help you grow into a better, much more well-rounded individual. Arguably this isn’t worth £9000 a year either, but let’s just go with it.
Tuesday was the ACA AGM where I gave my final speech as voting commenced for the 2017/18 committee elections! I will have my results during the Culture Show in around 8 hours, so you guys will definitely hear about how that went in my next post!
If you’re eager, you can always have a look at my tweets from around 10 P.M to see how things went, and consider following while you’re there – a feed can be found on the left-hand side of the screen if you’re using a computer, or nearer the bottom if you’re using a mobile device or table.