I guess it’s the same for all adults, but being a student makes financial problems particularly evident. We’re all growing up and going through the stages of learning how to handle money when many may have never earned money in their life. Even the fact that I’ve been working since I was 14 never made handling termly installments of £1,500 any easier. Rent, bills… It’s all a brand new, terrifying experience. Throw in the difficulty there is in finding a job in this economic climate, never mind in a university city with thousands of other students in a similar position and life might become overwhelming.
This struck me when I was browsing Twitter and a friend had retweeted this Guardian article. In short, it’s discussing the suicide of a university student and one of the contributing factors is consider to be his debt. All students have found themselves in that position where their bank statement is in the red, it’s one of the advantages of being able to claim an interest free overdraft with a student account. Currently, I surviving on my wages from my part time job because my rent takes all of my grant bar a couple of hundred pounds. I was lucky though, I managed to get that job because I’d by chance applied as a Saturday girl in the pharmacy down the road at home, that experience was essential when I applied for this current job.
But money worries are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to university. Living away from home is a whole over issue for a lot of students, and I know many friends from back home who didn’t care for leaving the island enviroment after all in the end. I have friends from London who have close families who are eagerly counting down the days to graduation. Others have had to drop out to care for their parents or ill relatives. I was lucky in this, university probably acted as more of an escape route/doorway of new opportunities for me though I have sometimes missed the sight of green hills and the sea in the morning.
Organisation is also another problem. Very few students who come to university don’t jump at the chance of having a social life whether that involves alcohol or not. But when it comes to a late, fun night with your friends or a 9am lecture on statistics which one are you going to choose? Before you know it, one missed lecture turns into five and you suddenly discover you have to write a 5,000 word assignment on a topic you know nothing about as well as revise for three different examinations.
And what about the other end of the scale, when you don’t make any friends at university and allow yourself to become bogged down in work. It can be extremely isolating, especially when there are several hours between you and your closest companion- and sometimes a phone call or Skype can only achieve so much.
Unfortunately, university can be daunting. It can be amazing, and of course that’s how it’s generally sold. To be honest, that’s even how I sell it. But that article really sent a chill down my spine. But another thing which comes out is the fact that the people who hit that low, are the people who refuse to ask for help. It’s important to realise that even if you do feel like that you are most definitely not the first. And not being the first means measures have been put in place to help you. Even if all you need to do is talk, it’s always a better idea to reach out to someone.