Being a student is everything I thought it would be; rumbling tummies and empty cupboards, empty bank accounts and amounting debt and a fair bit of hard work too. I went to university knowing it would be a struggle, but I knew it would be a lot of fun too, and I was right. I met so many people, gained new best mates, got myself a girlfriend and had so many incredible nights out I lost count; often loosing memories too.
I Worked as Hard as I Played
It’s true, I was skint but the good times make the bad so much more worthwhile. Unlike a lot of my friends I was unable to turn to my parents for hand outs when I ran out of food, as they were struggling too. Once my loan came in I always tried my best to spread it out over the term although the temptation to have a massive food shop and go on a bit of a bender for the weekend was often too much. This made the idea of the student sound simply like a drunk but I worked harder than I played, believe me. After weeks of completing an assignment I liked nothing more than heading out to the city and taking advantage of student nights, really letting loose.
Making Ends Meet
If you’re heading off to University this year it’s important to really think about money for a while. Like I said, I knew I was going to be quite strapped for cash and heading into a whole world of debt but I didn’t really recognise what that would be like in reality. If I had known better I would have asked for more shifts in the pub or found a second job over the summer to get some more savings in the bank. Instead I spent all my extra time with my friends, making the most of our last summer together as a crew.
As soon as I got to university, I sold almost all of my CD collection, loads of DVD’s and Blu-ray’s and almost parted ways with my Xbox. I would go for days without eating anything other than toast and drinking tea. It is interesting and also shocking that you would get used to it but there were many times when I would feel faint or tired which was not great when attending lectures or researching.
The banks will sometimes offer you more loan options or overdrafts but I recommend staying clear of these. By the time I graduated I was over £20 grand in debt. Therefore it seemed that even before I have a house or was to settle down I would be working for the bank. With the lack of jobs for graduates right now I suspect it will you as long as it took me to pay the bank back. It is simply not worth thinking about.
Finding Alternative Ways to Make Money
I did get a part time job in the bar down the road and that helped out no end. I also got bought drinks sometimes and saved them up until the end of the shift. That meant that I would often get to go home slightly drunk so it’s certainly had its benefits. Most of my wages at university when on life’s little pleasures while the grant and the loan went on more important things like books, Internet connection, rent, that kind of thing. Food was sadly the last priority which is why the cupboards are often bare. On payday though I would stock up on a bit of food: thank God for cheap Noodles!
Some of my mates were able to sell articles online whilst others worked in hotels or as cleaners. It is tough working and trying to study but to be honest I think it’s something you’re going to have to accept. Checking out the Internet for ways to make money is a good idea, just beware of scams. You can place best online – a bit of a risk but I won big on the online roulette table a couple of times when I was studying. Other ideas are to use those sites that pay you to take surveys for them and there are plenty of freelancer websites to check out. If you can offer any kind of skill online you could be outsourced.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tulanesally/5887771701/