How to Make £9,000 Worth it | The Student Pocket Guide
by Lauren Cope

If you’re starting university in September, you may well be graduating in three years time with an average debt of £40,000 – crikey. With tuition fees, living costs and every other expense on the rise, student loans and interest-free overdrafts will soon become your new best friends. So, if the debt is inevitable, how can you make your time at university worth the money?

Societies and clubs – Join everything. Although some will charge a small joining fee, getting involved with extra-curricular activities is the best way to meet new people. Sports teams are known for lively socials, summer tours and being a great way to meet people. Getting involved with committees on your society will also help you stand out with future employers.

Go to everything – Roughly, every hour of your lectures will cost you £46. 60 minutes of sitting down, taking notes for a degree you chose to do; easy, right? Whilst we accept that missing the odd lecture here and there is almost customary of first year, reminding yourself that you’ve just wasted £50 will be a sharp wake-up call to get your butt down to the lecture theatre! Paying £9,000 a year may seem ridiculous, but it’s even more ridiculous if you’re not taking what you’re paying for.

Make contacts – Get to know your lecturers. Not in a I-emailed-you-five-times-and-you-didn’t-reply-so-thought-I’d-turn-up-at-your-office way, but drop them an email if you’re struggling or need help. Engage in seminars and make sure they remember your name. Most lecturers have an impressive academic history behind them and you never know when a contact could come in handy.

Do well– Sounds obvious, yes. But there’s no point racking up a £40,000 debt to graduate university less than happy with your results. It’s a competitive job market out there, so doing as best you can will pay off. Your student loan won’t feel so bad when you land a dream job that pays well

Help yourself out – Being a student is the only time you’ll be entitled to a 10% discount at Topshop/Topman all year round. Take advantage of your NUS or campus card and save money wherever you possibly can, whether it’s shopping on the high street or eating at your favourite restaurant chain. Getting a part-time job will also ease the pressure of funding nights out and general living!

Most importantly… have fun. Going out three nights a week, socialising daily and regularly ordering take-outs won’t be acceptable after you graduate. These will be the best three years of your life, so experience everything. Make sure you leave with some lasting memories and take every opportunity you’re given, whether it’s another impromptu night out or a trip abroad. The best way to make the most of your fees? Have the most amazing time possible!