You’re standing in the middle of the dancefloor, surrounded by moving bodies. There are couples, friend groups, the occasional straggler. The atmosphere is palpable, and you look down at your phone: 11.59 pm. The countdown is here, and you find yourself swept up in the crowd, almost giddy. As those last few seconds tick by, you find yourself counting down aloud, Dick Clark style.
The clock strikes midnight and your breath catches in your throat – your student loan has come in! You realise that no one else around you is actually chanting, but you’re in Hive and most of the people around you are at least six pints of fun deep, so you’re safe. You stare at your bank balance in awe, and as you push towards the bar you make yourself a promise that this term won’t be like the others. This term is going to be different…
It’s a position most of us have been in before. The moment our student loans come in, all rational thought is abandoned. For students who receive SAAS things aren’t as bad: their payments are monthly, but those of us from England, Wales or Northern Ireland are expected to have the sense God gave us to manage our finances with only one major payment per term. I’m not sure who thought that this would be a reasonable idea, but statistics show that, unsurprisingly, it isn’t.
If you’re a student at Glasgow, you happen to attend one of the top ten universities where students manage to blow their entire loan in a month (we rank sixth, to be precise). Glasgow is an expensive city to live in by anyone’s standards, but I think it’s fair to say that this is a slightly ridiculous style of student living – given that average student loan payment for the year is around £5,000. This means that some students (myself included) are spending around £1,700 in their first month at university.
“On what!?” I hear my mother cry.
Again, in a hugely unsurprising twist, 87% of students surveyed said nights out took up a large part of their loan. Just to put that into perspective for you, that’s 340 pints of fun. Three hundred and forty. Either someone is really desperate to pull, or students are going out a (frankly) obscene amount. I’m unsure which is more likely.
59% of students said that food was another major spend factor. I personally feel that the huge amounts of money spent on drink and the huge amount of money spent on takeaway food may be linked in some way or another, but that’s just one chronic drunken binge-eater’s opinion. There also seems to be a frustrating amount of fabulous niche and astonishingly overpriced restaurants in the West End these days, and whether you’re bonding with new flatmates or catching up with the uni friends you like but don’t care enough about to keep in contact with over summer, there’s a shocking amount of excuses to blow your loan.
After putting on my detective cap to investigate these statistics further, I decided to do a little compare and contrast. Glasgow has 715 pubs, whereas Cambridge (a university picked at random, not because they have a reputation for being incredibly dull or any other negative reasons that could land the paper in hot water) has 104. Is it all that surprising that we drink most of our money? Students are terribly susceptible to suggestion, after all.
I’d love to be able to sum up this article with a heart-warming message about how it all works out in the end, or that these statistics are a huge improvement from previous years. In reality, I have no idea what to advise you to do, and more than likely there’s no hope for any of us. Drink up, we’ll all be dead in 70 years anyway.