Carl is a recent graduate from Portsmouth. He has kindly agreed to write for us on his experiences at university, providing a unique window into life as a modern day student! Follow carl on twitter @8carl8
Students have been in the press a lot recently with the rise of tuition fees due in 2012. Whilst listening to the radio recently there was an interview with a non-student who claimed that students should ‘just cut down on drinking’. Studying Architecture at University, there just isn’t the time for drinking. I barely had time to go out even once a week, yet money was still tight.
Most of my money was spent on the course. During the first week we were given an A4 double sided list of materials to buy, none of these involved alcohol. For the first 3 months at University my maintenance loan was £2000, £1500 of this was spent on halls of residence. This left me with £500 to spend on everything else. The items on the list came to about £500 alone. So to the nice lady on the radio who suggested I ‘should’ve cut down on drinking’: maybe, but it would’ve had to of been the non-alcoholic type too. Not every student I met took the course as seriously as I did…
This brings me to a student on my course (who will be known as C) who did spend her whole time (and vast majority of money) on drinking. She failed the course first year, then retook it and failed again, and then a third time. I think this is the type of student our radio caller friend was referring to. Had I been less prudent with my finances I may too have wasted on alcohol, but I chose to focus and study. The small amount of money provided to live on simply didn’t provide me the liberty to have both. It isn’t for me (or that caller) to decide what people can or can’t spend their money on, but I know for a fact that students such as C have the ability to waste this money not because they were given too much, but rather because the admissions board allowed people on the course (and therefore access to funding) who simply were uninterested in higher education. My point is that the university life isn’t the drink fuelled jolly people make it out to be when studying Architecture, especially if you actually bother to care about the course, or if deciding between food or alcohol is a choice you have to make.
Raising University fees to help dig us out of the recession is shooting ourselves in the foot. We should invest in education, and help fund our future industries. Increasing the number of students attending university courses isn’t the answer either. you don’t need to be a graduate to help contribute to the nations economics turn around, but you do need to have a desire to work. These are the people we should be supporting, not the work shy. Likewise, how about we plow more money towards those that actually bother to study, rather than those that treat uni as a bank balance and free ride… Just a thought.