One of the great things about doing a placement as a University of Bath student is the opportunity to work for companies you may be unlikely to get offered a position at as a new bright-eyed graduate. Compared to first and second year students, who tend to rely purely on their student loan and overdraft to fund their lives (oh interest-free overdraft, you beautiful thing – you are the window that opens when the loan door closes), final year students seem to start the term off like money is no big thing. They will be the generous drunks buying shots for all at the bar or will be living in outrageously nice houses in the centre of town. Obviously it only takes a few months for most of them to be back down at our pauper level, but still – those first few months of financial contentment seem nice.
Yes, the financial situation for fourth year students at Bath University is pretty peachy.
Unfortunately, while my placement provides me with a wealth of opportunities and experiences, there is one thing it does not offer me: a pay check.
While this was a frustrating concept to begin with, I cannot say it has been keeping me up at night since being here. I still get a student loan – actually I get slightly more than the previous years because this is a mandatory unpaid work placement. Yes that does just mean I will have more debt in the future. I am aware of that, now let us never speak of it again.
I decided that if I am going to be working for free for a year, why not do it in another country? Get a cheeky holiday out of it, or a “vacacement” if you will. Money is not at the centre of my universe; it is not a fat company bonus that I chase, nor am I counting on an outrageous salary to give me happiness in my life. What I need it for is living, obviously, what I want it for is to travel and have fun. Consequently, this year is going to involve me spending as little as possible on the necessities and as much as I can afford on gallivanting around the world. Because YOHASLO (you only have a student loan once).
Not going home for Christmas is probably going to be strange. Sadly, flights at that time are more unreasonable than the increasing cost of Freddos. Spending time with loved ones over Christmas is overrated anyway, who really needs a home cooked Christmas dinner with all the trimmings? We live three minutes away from a McDonalds and I hear their McTurkey sandwich is to die for. Sorry family, but any presents you receive this year will be in brown packages from Amazon.co.uk, and they will be cheap.
I cannot help but feel like I am spending less money here than I did in my previous years in Bath. As I am still only twenty (we will get to that later), I have not been going to pubs, bars or clubs on the regular, whereas in Bath I would easily spend £70 on drinks alone each week. I take home-made lunches to work – at uni I would happily buy a pricey sandwich in between lectures – and I have only ordered Domino’s twice and eaten at McDonald’s THREE TIMES since being here (that is right, I am healthy now. I’m basically Jennifer Hudson but without the weight loss and the talent). As of yet, I have not worked out quite how much I am saving in comparison to last year, but I think my new “lifestyle” may actually aid me with my dreams to travel around. Failing that, I am signing up to donate bone marrow; you get paid to do that sort of thing here because this is the land of the free and the home of the brave-enough to undergo surgery under general anesthesia).