For years, I knew I would go to University. I didn’t have a second thought otherwise – I didn’t want to get a full time job and be stuck with that for the remaining 50 years of my life. I still wanted to learn, and I actually like the education. That last bit I just realised recently, but it’s true nevertheless. I like the idea of being taught something new each day, writing up a paper or an article with some research to submit soon after so you fully understand it, and then having those notes to look up when it comes to revision at the back end of the academic year.
University seemed like the perfect place to spend the remaining years of my education. Independence for one thing, and although I will miss home (see my last blog here) I am looking forward to the idea of living how I want, and studying where and when I feel like it. I’m not even worried about self-motivation – I know I’m there on the premise that I’ve done well enough at school and college for them to accept and offer me a place at University, and so it’s my fault if I waste a perfect opportunity to further my prospects. All was fine and looking well.
Until today. I received my halls confirmation and I was expected to pay near a £1000 more than I was being given with my Student Maintenance Loan, starting in two weeks time with £400 more than I have. I’ve had jobs since I’ve been allowed – holding down a paper round for the last two years of school, and working at a clothes shop for most of college. But I still have little to no money to my name. What with numerous driving lessons, a holiday, and some birthdays and a few nights out, I still can’t earn enough to keep me afloat.
What worries me more than anything is the Government promoting a debt lifestyle as normal and necessary to get to a higher paid job (which I’m definitely not guaranteed). I know that I’m going to be leaving University £18,000 in debt. That’s not a happy number to look forward to.
I’m going to be living in Cornwall too. I’m becoming less and less confident of landing a job anywhere as time draws closer and closer to me leaving home. Which would be a disaster with not only Fresher’s week coming up – notorious for draining of the savings you had left for a good time – but any extra-curricular activities abroad, at home or otherwise that my course no doubt has planned.
I haven’t even spoke about surviving yet. Where am I going to get money to buy food and water? How will I do any of the basic things that I’m so used to not even giving much thought about? I’ve earned money, and now I’m allowed to spend it. I have no expenses and only income. Now I have only expenses and no income.
If I wasn’t running around worrying about sweeping every last coin from all the crevices of the room that I’ve packed up into a box and preparing to leave with, I’d spare a thought for all those going to University next year, with the infamous tuition fee rise, a further £18,000 than I have to worry about.
I’ll just have to face up to it. If you find someone dead in Falmouth accommodation due to starvation, that was probably me.