About a year ago, I was working in my old job. It was a Saturday afternoon in the run up to Christmas and I’m stuck on the till and I’m serving women between the ages of maybe 50 and 60 (sorry if you weren’t that old, not really that sorry though because you were extremely rude to me). The usual retail small talk turns over to the topic of me and what I do, if I work full time and what I do in my spare time. I tell them that I don’t work full time and that I study at university and that most of my spare time goes on studying and assignments. I honestly wish I had said nothing because the replies were far from pleasant.
I received every patronising, degrading comment you could possibly think of. Along the lines of “So what is it exactly you students do?’ ‘I think that’s ridiculous, you are all so lazy’, ‘all you lot do is sit around with books all day, go out and get a real job and stop costing us money’ (sorry, forgot u were SAAS babe). They then proceeded to blame students for the government carrier bag charge and World War Two in the same sentence. I’m not quite sure what arse they pulled those ‘facts’ out of.
So I’m just going to assume these two women do not require doctors, nurses, dentists, politicians, teachers, dieticians, mechanics, engineers, architects, lawyers and world class fashionistas (future me).
I have never been so undermined in such a short time ever before in my life.
I am SICK of people thinking students have an easy life.
Okay so maybe we don’t always make it to lectures on time, we don’t always show up to our seminars and our holidays are admittedly extremely long. We get extremely low interest loans and our education is paid for. We get pretty decent discounts and free cheeseburgers in McDonalds. Maybe that’s what they’re so angry about. The cheeseburgers. I’d be angry about that too.
We have to balance university classes, lectures, exams and assignments with working one sometimes two jobs, internships and placements to try and cultivate some kind of worthwhile future. We have to consider studying abroad and graduate jobs. We have to balance seeing family and friends and partners to avoid being labelled as anti-social and distant. Oh, and we’re expected to remain sane. HA.
I am absolutely not looking for sympathy – I understand that an outsider could view typical student life as a breeze. However, if they were to scratch the surface even the tiniest bit they’d realise just how challenging being a student can be. It’s not all fun and games. It rarely is.
Just because we’re not sitting in offices working a 9 to 5 and living solely for the weekend to go shopping on a Saturday in Debenhams with our holier-than-thou pals doesn’t mean our lives are easy.
I’m not asking you to feel sorry for us. I’m just asking for a bit of respect.