Why student life is harder than it looks

Two years ago, I went back to university. Initially it was an easy decision. I had worked full time during my 20s and felt it was my moment to sit around in my pants, watching telly and eating pizza on days other than the weekend; or evenings, holidays, or whenever the opportunity presented itself at work.

So I handed the application in and waited for the fantasy to come true. Three years drinking in bohemian, tie-dye smothered, coffee places cultivating a scruffy but trendy beard and just having an overall sense of smugness because I’m going to change the world and you didn’t.

As it turned out, I was quite wrong.

Firstly, and this might fly in the face of popular opinion, but students work. And they work really hard. They have this reputation (or propaganda as I’ve now realised) that they drink a lot, run around naked and sleep with anything. In reality they don’t.

There are a certain number who do, and I have tried my level best to meet them but even these guys work really hard. If you can drink all day, run around naked and still meet five deadlines a week then I imagine one day you will be running the country. Or working in television.


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All work is relative to the person, so me saying that students work hard can evoke a typical, unsubstantiated opinion of “yeah, but try doing this all day.” I appreciate that, but it seems unfair that students have this reputation they don’t deserve for two reasons.

One, they don’t deserve it and two, for any unsuspecting 20-something who thought it would be all drinking and nudity it almost seems like false advertising; if I knew who to sue I would sue.

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I’ve spent two and a half years of reading, sweating, working, writing, reading and reading and as you can imagine, this is seriously getting in the way of the impressive pants and pizza plan I’d come up with.

In films when you see the Harvard students typing away at their laptops surrounded by guitars and shiny wood, they just reel off their essays and assignments in five minutes.

Then they go to a party and drink. They don’t show you the bits were the Harvard guy has read the same sentence 15 times and still can’t understand it. Or were the Harvard guy is torn between the cost of printing an assignment or lunch.

They never show you the bit were the Harvard guy is slamming his head in the fridge trying to think of another word for ‘therefore.’ Although that might be because he goes to Harvard, but that isn’t the point.

Therefore (damn) when you see a student protesting against tuition fees it probably isn’t fair to just dismiss them. Tuition fees are 13 years old this year and I couldn’t be more on the fence about them if it tried.

If they go, who knows where the money is going to come from because apparently we’ve all run out. Perhaps those in charge couldn’t afford an economics course at university.

Oh wait, that’s not true because they didn’t have to pay tuition fees. They burnt the bridge they crossed which qualified them to lose the tax payers’ money and ruin the NHS.

If I want to be qualified to do that I’ve got to pay. I think we should all have the same opportunities to break the economy and claim expenses for a duck island.

At the end of my course I would have spent approximately �12,000 on tuition alone. Combine this with the cost of books, paper, ink and the Harvard guy I’m getting to write my essays for me it all adds up to approximately �20,000 over three years.

That’s my money and I’m not even guaranteed something at the end of it. In three years time, I’m going to turn around and be �20,000 worse off, probably fatter and without the guarantee of a job or even a pony. If you spent �20,000 you would at least expect a pony – with ten grand strapped to its behind.

I’ll take a certain amount of financial commitment but don’t assume I’m lazy. Being a student is a full-time job. Combine this with the fact most students have to work as well I think they deserve a few nights were they drink anything, run around naked and sleep with anyone.

My opinion might change if I don’t get invited to one of these nights soon.

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