I was a student once. I’m not one anymore (is this sounding obvious to anyone yet?), but at times I wish I was… and then sometimes I am glad I’m not… I’ll explain.
When I want to buy something from a shop where a student discount is offered, naturally I long for the days of lectures and assignments. However, when I finish work at 4 or 5 and have the rest of the evening to myself without worrying about something I needed to finish or lectures I really don’t want to be at, I thank my lucky stars.
It is a bit of a shock being a ‘civilian’ after being a student for so long. Gone are the days of popping into a pub on a Tuesday at 12.30 for a quick drink and then staggering out 12 hours later with a daffodil in each ear and a bar stool up your arse. Instead, it is a big fat hello to going to bed straight after the ‘11 O’clock Show’, living only for weekends and paying TAX!
At times I feel like a second-class citizen because I’m no longer a student type. Some clubs up here in Edinburgh get a bit shirty if you’re not a student. My argument always sounds the same, “But students smell terribly and wreck the place.” And although the bouncer never answers, I know the real reason it is a students’ only night. Students (for the first week of term at least) have a big, fat grant cheque, a big, sexy student loan, and they like to spend it as quickly as possible. I know – I’ve been there.
To be honest though, in my latter years as a student (I was one for five glorious years), I never considered myself to be a typical student, but in this day and age is there such a thing? Granted in my first year I probably did some very stereotypical student-y type things like shaving all my hair off, wearing clothes with questionable fashion credibility and drinking cider (yes, honestly! I know, I know…), but I soon changed my tune about that one.
In my second year I became the total opposite, wearing sort of preppie clothes and going to play (well watch, mostly) pool and going to house parties and getting drunk (but on vodka this year).
By the third year the dodgy clothes and Pulp Fiction obsessions were far, far behind me and I became obsessed with expensive clothes and the like. This has stayed with me (except now the clothes don’t have to be expensive… in fact, it’s better if they’re not, due to spending my entire wage on tuna sandwiches).
For my fourth year I was in Belgium on my placement year, so I was very un-student like (more of that some other time, perhaps). As for my final year, well I was so busy going out to trendy bars and the like, that I didn’t have time to be a stereotypical student.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the days of students wearing tie-dye, dreading their hair into makeshift Eiffel Towers and protesting about bombs are more or less over. Mind you, if you hang around a Students’ Union bar long enough you’re bound to see the odd throwback wearing a tablecloth and drinking Scrumpy Jack.
Students are a much more mainstream breed today. That is not to say that they are dull, far from it in fact. It is a taxpayer’s prerogative to hate students, but I don’t. Students can be exciting, and quite resourceful – I mean, I lived on fish fingers and canned plum tomatoes for I don’t know how long one hot summer. However, not every student in the land had to be so resourceful with the pennies. The average student at my university had a big car, loads of money, great clothes and a class A habit. If you look at it that way, I’m not really missing much. I am kidding myself here, aren’t I?
So there’s only one thing for it…pass me that post grad prospectus somebody, I feel another couple of years of government funding coming on. Mmm, how about a Masters in egg painting?