THE ONE THING THAT UNIVERSITY DOES FOR YOU (as well as giving you -hopefully- awesome friends and/or drinking buddies, the foundations of liver disease, a Bachelors or Masters in something-or-other and a whole new take on the wonders of eating 3 meals a day on £8.73 a week) is that… it gives you a sixth sense. And that sense, unfortunately, is Entitlement. Something, perhaps, that is ironically imbued by the untempered, grown-up luxury of any University environment: endless information, tuition, support and ready-made friendship groups.
‘Course, you’d expect this at the very least following a life loan minimum of approximately £30,000.
But then, given the loan on life that you give to the investment into a University education, is it actually of life-value?
In world terms, the value we put on a university education is the fluidity and ease of obtaining a job – one which, at least in the UK and US, has turned out to be a total misnomer of the selling point. It’s also supposed to provide a stable ground for maturity (I’ll let you fill that one) and finally, it’s advertised as being the foundation on which to build a career, a stack of cash, and a lifestyle of suitable comfort that is a little beyond beyond your needs but always massively within your means.
Given the huge percentage of unemployed graduates then, is a £30,000 loan beneficial to a young person to sink into a university education after the age of 18, or would it be better given as a Young People’s Loan; one which in Utopia Land would be given to candidates who could honestly use the money which would tangibly increase the quality of life for young people an increasingly poor country?
It’s time to play the *WHAT ELSE IS £30,000 GOOD FOR WHEN YOU’RE 18-24?* game!
Researched within seconds thanks to the internet (Thanks Internet!) here is a list, with hyperlinks, of what £30,000 could mean to an educated, non-morally dubious young person 18 and over.
EU €35,471.31 – 2 x new small hybrid cars
Swiss Francs F44,092.20 – 1 x rent a large shop for a year
US $45,609 –1,000 x new Levi 501s
AUS $46,250 – 50% downpayment on a small Sydney apartment
Brazilian Real: BR92,463 2 x capital city studio apartments
JPY ¥4,671,780 Up to 5.5 years at Uni rather than 3
Philippine Peso: P1,881,315 – Capital city 5-bedroom luxury penthouse apartment
Jamaican $4,496,430 – 2 x eight-bedroom mansions
Thai Baht: ฿1,359,159 –a city hotel including a business consultant and translator
…You get the idea. Enough to fund about 5 families in some places for the rest of their lives in many parts of the world.
So while the above figures while the real world boots that sense of entitlement straight out of you again (fairh’nuff), there’s just this niggling feeling of having wasted a fiucktonne of money and an impending quarter-life crisis at having made a terrible life choice.
Forgive me, I wrote this post way in advance and is no reflection on how I feel today about life. You could say it’s time travel… if you were a numpty. Actually, it’s a test. I wrote this 4 months ago when everything in my life was teetering off a chalky cliff edge: it’s a test to see whether things have got better or not, and if the degree played any part in it. There’ll be an edited adjunct straight after the auto-publication of this post.*
Aside from extensively expensive education (but then, what university isn’t going to cost you the simpering thought of never owning your own home or business, these days, thanks to Nick Clegg?) with little wiggle room for studying postmodernist texts if you’re doing English Literature at certain universities who shall remain nameless… I’m in a bit of a pissy mood, because starting up a new blog project which essays pop culture and alternative poetry is something an unjustifiably expensive degree was meant to encourage…. I can feel it. The rant beginneth.
1. Writing So People Actually Wanna Read Your Stuff
For English? Standard.
2. Science-y, Psychology-y Languages
From Dravidian languages and a foundation in dentistry, to retroflex consonants and rules about the word “the” in over 15 countries. Useful.
3. Arty Englishes
Which also includes film.
I enjoyed University though. Mostly, I enjoyed gigs and the students’ union.
The hardest lesson I learned is that in the UK job market, having a degree means naff all. In fact, with the money the government gives students, it’s a wonder they don’t let them invest in the world, so to speak, given the above figures.
The UK Government must be laughing their socks off, with all those apartments in Brazil and hotels and jeans they bought with our education. Not funny though, is it?
*Edited Adjunct: My degree made no difference to my current job. 15th June, 2013, 3 years after graduation.