This is a retort to an article from The Independent, pointed out to me by a friend as she quite rightly knew it would infuriate me as it infuriated her, and I am sure; the student population to boot.
The writer tries to compile a list of the expenses ‘students can do without’ and systematically proceeds to provide one containing all the things students need most.
A car may seem like a luxury whilst at uni, however it stops the huge expense of train fares, taxis and the like. It can be an earner as a car owner you will be a minority and will become resident driver to your friends. It will also save money in the long run, with your no claims bonus increasing and providing a mechanism for a cheap weekend away.
Smartphones were basically invented for students. They are tools for us to work on whilst on the move. They are our notepads for when our pen runs out of ink, our diaries (of which we are not required to buy a new one every year or every time we spill a cup of coffee over it) and our means of planning study sessions, ordering books, reading books, finding answers, asking questions and so much more. A 5510 just won’t cut it.
The majority of students work hard. Not all… but most. How else would the number of graduates have got so high? And so, we need our down time like anyone else. Suggesting a TV and TV licence is a waste of money, is ostracising us as a minority from the rest of our society. Not to mention the fact that illegal downloading would go through the roof! Also believe it or not, many of us watch subject specific programming, and things set to us by our lecturers, especially if like me you aspire to be a journalist… the news is a staple to your daily routine! The nature of being a student usually means your TV Licence fee will be split several ways anyhow, and your TV will probably be the same one that has inhabited your bedroom for five years previous.
Travel is a necessity, and something often taken into consideration whilst selecting a place of study. Those who love their home life choose the uni next door, those who fancy branching out a little but still want to be close enough for comfort travel up to 3 hours, and those who want to start life over go further afield. This is the one area of expenditure which most students will agree is the most important; retaining ties with friends and family is of the upmost importance (unless of course the nation wants an increased rate of depression and mental illness across their campuses).
Alcohol. Students are the Kings and Queens of drinking on the cheap so brother please… don’t preach to the choir.
Now for the most preposterous suggestion… to give up meat. Many people chose to be vegetarians for humane reasons, environmental reasons, or purely because they don’t like the taste. That is great, but the rest of the student population live off bacon sandwiches, tuna pasta and mince. These are not luxuries. The only ones with steaks lined up in the freezer are those who live off mummy and daddy’s monthly allowance – not those who live off their student loan alone, or work 2 or 3 part time jobs to sustain themselves.
The next suggestion evokes a similar response to that of alcohol. The whole reason Amazon is a viable business plan is due to the hundreds and thousands of students buying and selling their textbooks online. Almost none, use the on campus book store, or pop down to Waterstones. Many start departmental swapping mechanisms, or buddy up with those from years above. Textbooks are the most necessary expense as the library never has enough copies, or let you loan for any useful period of time and e-versions are not quite as easy to use in ways needed to write an essay.
The spec of lap-top you need depends on your degree. If you are studying fashion, photography, or even science you are likely to need something with a little more power and a little more memory to host the programmes and software vital to the success of your degree. Yes you can use the ones at uni but the likelihood is there is almost always no room and that the uni themselves are struggling to keep up to date with the tech needed to succeed.
The printer is the only part where this writer may have a point, although, it is accessibility that is the problem. Students are time poor as well as financially, what with all the extra-curricular activities, deadlines and part time work and so unless your uni has a 24 hour library and help desk your own printer is also a necessity. Most uni’s which now ask for electronic submission still also ask for a hard copy, as many lecturers still prefer to scrawl their notes as opposed to input them onto a database.
Going to the gym is the healthy equivalent of television. It serves the same purpose as described above; down time. Local gyms often offer better membership deals than the university one so these are worth checking out. Running isn’t for everyone, yoga isn’t for everyone, we live in Britain so the sea isn’t an option, and yes sex is the most effective form of exercise but despite popular opinion; not all students want to be at it like rabbits 24/7.
Computer software is an expensive area. I haven’t looked into ApacheOpenOffice but nowadays most laptops come with a compatible version or a student version anyway, so this is when you can cut down on the expenditure.