The Broke student

“Mate, there’s just no way I’m gonna make it till the end of the month. Bloody draining student life, I can’t wait to get a paycheck!”

The clock was approaching midnight, the pub was unexpectedly full of people for a Monday night in Central London, and a bunch of students were ordering pitchers of cocktails. “That’s the special offer, there’s almost no booze in it anyway,” somebody explains.

Eventually, comes the time to order. Again. Two lads come back with whiskey, visibly very proud of what they are drinking. Despite the loud volume of the conversations and laughs around, the oppressing music from way back into techno days, and an actual smell of bleach indicating a recent puking, the group continues to drink and joke about university and the student way of life.

Jeff explains the paradox:

“When you’re a student, you’ve got all the time in the world, the energy of doing so much stuff, but no money. Then you grow up, get a job, get some money coming in, but hey, no time if I wanna keep my job. And then you get old, and sorry, but you’re old and can’t do anything anymore. That’s fucked up!”

With London being ranked as one of the most expensive city in the world, the outcomes can quickly add up. “That’s plain simple: I’m a smoker, so 7 quids a day for my pack ; I’ve got to go to uni, so 6 pounds per day for that ; plus the food and the occasional beer. Honestly, I’m spending like £20 a day doing nothing special, just… living.“ It gets worse when it comes to partying, also called “social life.” As he explains that, Jeff is mocked by one of his friend, who discloses that Jeff is known for his recurrent £100 dates.

Surprisingly, after talking about girls and subsequent topics, the conversation comes back to the cost of living. “That is a strange feeling for me. My parents are giving me money to live, and I don’t have the feeling to waste it that much, but yeah, I guess I spend too much. I spend all I have. And when I’ll get a job, I’ll spend everything too. Just with better booze, nicer places and more nights out.”

“I hate calling my parents to ask for money. But the month needs to be very calm if I want to end up with something on my bank account.” Unfortunately, the perspectives are not very bright for students. “It’s going to be internship after internship, I’ll be lucky to get paid a few bucks.”

“But yeah, I mean, we’re students, that’s an exciting life. We’ve all got to be in class tomorrow at 9, and look at us right now. Worth being broke, right?”

Reporting by Basile Simon

Behind the Story : As explained in the story, the pub was far from empty this night, which surprised me quite a bit.

I usually go to talk to people who seem to present a certain interest for a story. The man who recorded the beers he drank in a huge binder was a good example. But it was not the case here: I had to come back with something, and I just talked to those kids.

Maybe my age played some role here, but they greeted me as a fellow student, and we ended up having a good time together. Like if we were friends.