Lily Tibbitts’ Student Life #140
I recently saw a news article about the effects of the cost of living crisis on students, with 49% of students missing lectures and seminars to do paid work instead. One girl said that she was working up to 45 hours per week as her maintenance loan and university funding came nowhere near to covering her rent, groceries and other life expenses.
As ever, Twitter responded with love and kindness. “Rare to find a Brit who isn’t workshy these days”, one commenter said, whilst others still seemed to be unable to grasp the concept of ‘crisis’ altogether. “Swallow the pride and go ask your parents or whoever for help with money if you’re struggling” said one, whilst another added: “I know it’s difficult, but prioritise your lectures”. If only solutions were this easy to come by for everyone.
I’m lucky. I have a very decent maintenance loan this year and savings to rely on, but I still work all my weekends and, yes, I have skipped a lecture before to get a couple more hours pay. Lots of my friends have it much worse. The cost of living crisis has been awful to everyone, but landlords have taken the opportunity to raise rents on student properties to astronomical amounts for next year. We’ve all had to completely redefine what counts as affordable.
It’s true that many have it worse right now, or have had it worse in the past. Indeed lots of the comments were tales of how much people had to work in the 90s, 80s, 70s while they were in university, but they just put their heads down and got on with it. These people confuse me. Why, after experiencing hardship, would you wish that same hardship on the next generation?
These students are not weak for speaking out- they’re brave. They’re refusing to put their heads down and shoulder unfair burdens placed on them by an unfair society. We so often value hard work to the extent where we see asking for life to be easier as a sign of weakness, but why shouldn’t it be?
They are not saying that they are suffering most, they are just saying that they’re suffering, and that they, like everyone, deserve better.
If we’re busy falling into the trap of pitting ourselves against each other to see who is closest to the edge of breakdown, we fail to look up and notice who has brought us to the edge of breakdown in the first place.