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Students, Money and University Experience. How is it Affected?

Student overwhelmed with work. Books on table, head flat on table.
Overwhelmed student with university work

The inflation crisis is having a large impact on University students. More than half of students admit to facing money problems during the increase of cost of living in the UK. This doesn't only affect accommodation prices and food prices, it affects the social lives of students and experiencing living freely in a new location.

Social life

Students value the social life of University in alignment with their studies. It is freedom and a getaway from their constant studies which consume the majority of their experience. Money however, can affect this. Especially as a first year student, socialising and making friends is a priority when moving away from home. Student will typically want to go out trying new restaurants with new friends, going shopping and in particular clubbing in a new city. This all relies on being able to afford this lifestyle in parallel to weekly food shops and accommodation costs.

A study shows that one in five students have considered moving back home and commuting to university rather than living in accommodation, due to the rise in living costs. Commuting will have a massive impact of the freedom of social life whilst being at university, due to having to commute everyday to see friends. With a majority of students saying they have cut back on non-essential items just to cover costs in different departments of their everyday life. These non-essential items can consist of going for dinner with friends, going for a coffee and experiencing new things with friends. As they do not have the funds to be executing these ideas.

Wellbeing and mental health in students is a main priority for universities in the current climate, the inflation prices and the lack of support is hugely affecting students.

From personal experience, I know how important spending time with friends is away from studying. I was caught up in my room and the library studying and allowed myself little time to spend with friends. This caused me to become anxious and lonely. Once I was able to get myself around friends, doing activities my mood and mental health immediately improved. Money was a problem, but with the right friends you can find suitable activities which are in budget.

Physical health

Remaining good physical health whilst keeping up with your studies can be a chore for some students. Eating good nutritious food and exercising may become a struggle once leaving home. Inflation results in food prices in supermarkets rapidly increasing; this results in some individuals not being able to afford their prices and therefore immediately affect on their physical health and mental wellbeing. Surveys show that good eating habits allow students to be more efficient learners, with reduced absence and improved memory.

Additionally, being able to afford a gym membership is something that students are looking for. Many of the local gyms will provide student discount on memberships yet they still normally cost around £20 a month. As recently talked about, this may not be suitable for student with the rise of the cost of living prices with having to afford nutritious food as well. The gym allows students to release any stress and become a more motivated learner with improved concentration.

I personally experienced this myself. I became seriously unhealthy with my food choice and unfit. The only exercise I was doing was walking to university and back. I decided I knew it was ready for a change and I couldn't continue this lifestyle. My money was tight but I found ways to overcome this. I planned my meals I was eating every week in advance, and did and Aldi or Lidl shop. I instantly felt myself feel more motivated and excited to learn. I used to money I saved to spend on a gym membership. This allowed me to spend time with my friends in the gym as well as doing frequent exercise. This motivation to go to the gym flowed into my work. I was more active, less tired, whilst spending time with my friends.

Money is a rising problem and a struggle for students. It is something you can overcome and adapt too. Stop buying your luxury food, and non-essential items. Instead invest it into being surrounded by friends, socialising and being active.

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