The struggling student

Photograph: Pexels
Photograph: Pexels

In 2012 those going to university in England were the first year to pay tuition fees of £9,000 a year. These fees put many off from attending university and expedited the transformation of universities into an even more unattainable tier than they once were.

Those who finished university in 2015 were the last to pay upfront for master’s degrees. Some might say those who went to university between these years were unlucky, especially with the quality of universities slowly declining due to lack of funding (despite the high fees). It was recently announced that the government is considering allowing top universities and those that are of a required standard to increase their fees. Although this could solve many funding problems for universities, it is a vicious cycle as fewer students will attend university meaning institutions will still not receive enough funding.

The idea of allowing masters students to have a student loan for fees is a good idea, yet it means that a master’s degree will become more common ultimately decreasing the value of an undergraduate degree in the job market. This is a fear that most students who are coming to the end of their degrees have. How will I find a job? Do I have to move back home? Do I have to work in a basic job that I do not want to do? Have I wasted my money on a degree I will not be using?

As I near the end of my master’s degree, these are questions I have asked myself. However, I have come to the conclusion that with passion and determination this fear will be overcome. I think that students need to speak about how much they struggle, financially, independently and mentally.

Many believe that the student years are some of the best years of a person’s life, and in most respects they are. However, they are also some of the worst, the most stressful and a time of struggle. Many students, including myself, must have a job in order to fund themselves, despite tutors advising against it. Those who have part-time jobs must sacrifice the education they are working on to pay for  part time jobs which take up a lot of time and effort.

Most students work in bars and restaurants, which are demanding and stressful. They often require students to work evenings and weekends, the only free time and time to do the work they have. They act as a distraction and in some cases a mental excuse for some not to do their work. Many struggle to find the balance between university work and their job, often running themselves mentally and physically low. This has damaging effects on students health causing many to have forms of anxiety.

If students were more outspoken about their struggles at university and how much the costs affect them, more would speak out about the rise in fees. The rise in fees might be needed to fund universities, however, it will have catastrophic effects on the next generation of students.


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Caroline Hibbs 3 Articles
Caroline has a masters in human rights and global ethics and an undergraduate degree is in history. Her interests are mostly history and politics. At the end of her studies she hopes to work for a charity, NGO or political organisation.

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