I’m at the age whereby I’m learning to drive, thinking about universities and possible career choices as well as considering future finances. So curiosity got the better of me and I decided to work out where I’m headed.
Learning to drive is optional of course for students, but considering the price of buses and trains in London (I live 20 miles from London and it’s around £24 for me to get a train ticket unless you spend another £20 on a separate train student saver card) it is handy to be able to get yourself from A to B independently. To begin with my provisional cost £50 which considering the cost that goes into making the card, it is really a rip-off. My lessons then cost £500 for 20 and although I’ve pretty much ready for my test, you then have to consider the cost of your next two purchases (the theory test and the practical test). The theory test costs £31 and the practical about £61, without even hiring the car to take the test in and an hour of your instructors’ time so that you can practice beforehand. So without the added pressure of passing, you have already wasted about £120 attempting to take your test! If you are lucky enough to pass first time, you then have to consider insuring and purchasing a car. Buying a car is the cheaper part, with it being possible to buy a car for around £500 but insuring your own car is another matter, with many students choosing to have one parent as the main driver in order to bypass the cost of an average insurer. The average cost for insurance in minimum £800 to £2000.
Cost of driving – £2301 (without costing of petrol).
Many would argue that students have it much better off nowadays, considering we get discounts on products and goods, however I have several experiences that confirm otherwise. Just the other day I visited an Odeon cinema with a few friends, an evening at the cinema isn’t cheap as I’m sure you know (considering how much they charge for popcorn and sweets currently) however I had planned to get a discounted cinema ‘student’ ticket which knocks a few pounds off the price. I had 4 forms of ID on me at the time, a UCAS card, my driving licence, my insurance card and a validate student card. However the stubborn man behind the till decided that I looked a lot older than I was trying to prove and despite the numerous forms of identification he aggressively told me that I was going to have to pay an adult fare – as he said that although I had photo proof of being a student, I could have dropped out of school and kept my student card. Does that even make sense? So reluctantly I paid for an adult ticket due to the fact I was holding up a large queue. To top it all off, I noticed a sign that said ‘buy popcorn and a drink and get a free kit kat chunky’ so as I was sharing with one of my friends, we could purchase the deal. After buying a drink and a popcorn I was told I wouldn’t be getting a free chocolate bar as I didn’t buy a large popcorn but a medium one (not that it told me this on the sign).
Pricing – £22 for a trip to the cinema.
I’ve also been looking at uni’s lately, as it’s coming up to the time that I will have to make a decision on which university I decide I want to apply to. I’m keen to do a course in Journalism or Production or perhaps English Literature however not only does the prospect of moving away from your family seem very daunting but so does the costing. I haven’t been to any of the student protests concerning fees as personally I think that no matter what havoc you cause, this is never going to be a match for the decisions the people in government has made and although it is going to be tricky to get ourselves through university, it is worth noting that employers will take note of the investment you have made in your own future and perhaps think more highly of you. With fees being raised up to £9,000 a year added to living costs of about £7,000 per year this doesn’t leave much money for the partying and fun you are supposed to have in your Uni years. It also adds to the troubling prospect of not being able to afford your own home until much later due to your debts of about £60,000. I heard on the radio a few weeks ago that the average age for someone purchasing their first home in London (ie: being able to afford a home in London for the first time) is 41. What a daunting thought.
Cost of education – £60,000 +
It all sounds very negative and normally I’m not a negative person when looking to the future, but I just think it’s a real shame for those who won’t be able to afford university and won’t be able to live out their aspirations as soon as planned. However for some, it will mean they are given more motivation to work harder and strive for the career path they really want. Certainly for me, in the tough world of Journalism it will just mean I will have to work a lot harder to ‘get my foot in the door’ and get myself noticed. Who knows?
What do you think?