I’ve never really properly spoken about myself and my life here on my blog – mainly because I didn’t think that many people would even care. However, with a lot of people also going through the same things as me at this point in time, I thought it might help someone in some way. As you can tell by the title, I’m going to be talking about finishing my degree and all the other sh*t you didn’t realise came with it.
While in university, you live in a dream where money gets given to you and all you have to do is attend lectures and write a few essays. It’s like an extension of school, except you’re not living with your parents and you can do whatever the hell you want! But once those three years are over, everything seems to hit you at once. You realise you have to pay that seemingly free money back, along with £27,000 you never even saw – oh, plus interest. That is something you don’t actually think about when applying for a student loan at 17 or 18. But now at 21, it’s a scary prospect.
Next, you have to find yourself a job. But with the influx of recent graduates the job market is very thin and far between. Since submitting my dissertation well over a month ago now, I must have applied for about 100 jobs, and I have only had one interview since then (we’ll save that story for another time). The majority of jobs are in industries that I am really not interested in, however I am so desperate to get out of my part time job, I will take anything that I can get. I have seen how easy it is to get stuck working full time in what seems to me as a dead end job, and essentially a waste of your university education. Now I’m seeing the people who didn’t have part time jobs throughout university getting their dream jobs – the ones that had someone to support them financially, so that they could focus on their studies and find fantastic work placements throughout their time at university, they are the ones getting my dream jobs.
I’m eternally grateful for my Mum, although she couldn’t pay for my rent, she gave me everything she could – she set me up with all my essentials in first year, when I had literally no money she would send me some to tide me over until my loan came in, she paid for my deposit on my second year house, and also ordered a pizza to my halls in first year when I was feeling down and lonely. The most important thing however, is that she has always been on the other end of the phone. She’d send me messages to see if I was ok, but has also given me the space to breathe and to be me. Before I left for university, we were always at each other’s throats, but this time apart has made our relationship much better, and I treasure the times that she comes up to see me in Manchester, or when I go an stay in my old bedroom in Doncaster.
However, the scariest thing about all of this is the possibility of not being able to stand on my own two feet and being unable to afford to actually stay in Manchester and ending up having to live in my childhood bedroom once again. As soon as I moved out to come to uni, I felt the independence that I had always craved. To have that taken away from me and be forced to move back home would be devastating to me. But working on the “living wage” (I will say my workplace is great for that as I don’t qualify and I am grateful for a slightly higher wage than the minimum), is extremely hard and money is an incredible stress and worry once you have graduated from your three years at university – something that doesn’t even enter your mind when you are packing your belongings during that Summer after sixth form.
Your student loan isn’t your only debt you have to deal with though. As I got through the years, I hated having to ask my Mum to lend some money, so in second year I eventually got an overdraft, and also a credit card. I was incredibly good with my credit card, and paid it off almost instantly and have now stopped using it completely, it was my overdraft that was just too good to be true! I have been in it deep, and I have dipped in and out of it from time to time, but I never thought it would follow me out of university. I have paid it all off a number of times, but a month out of university and being unable to pay it off with my weekly part time job wage, things were getting worrisome. With the need to save for other inevitable debts, such as council tax and leaving my current job and not having a pay check for a month, my overdraft is in the back of my mind. Thankfully last week I managed to finally be out of it with £100 to spare. This week I have only ended up being £20 into it, however we have stocked the cupboard and freezer up with food, just to make sure we are saving the most money we can.
All in all, this might just be the most stressful time of my life – the time that I need a holiday the most, yet the time that I just can’t afford one. I’m just hanging on to the hope that I have the winning numbers on my lotto ticket, or I find a £100,000 prize hidden under a scratch card, or better yet, I get that job I have always hoped for!