Soap Box

POST-GRAD

It’s only in retrospect that you realise just how bizarre university life is. It is only after you’re flung from your innocently drunken weeknights, somewhat questionable sleep hours, very questionable standards of hygiene and hours of doom in the Robinson hellhole that you realise this isn’t what the real world looks like at all. It would appear that walking down the street and being unable to avoid bumping into friends, acquaintances, or people you met somehow but just can’t remember how, is not how most cities function. Who would have thought? And whilst being outside the dreamy student bubble may seem overwhelming, it actually turns out this is fairly liberating. Don’t get me wrong – homesickness for Newcastle is real, but it turns out there is life after graduation after all. Routine may appear lethal, a death-like alternative to the days students enjoy, but it can actually become quite reassuring; the joy of having evenings to spend doing whatever you want – and actually having the money to afford it.

By Ruth Davis

THE SU SHOP

The Student’s Union shop, a one-stop shop where one can buy all their university essentials, and more! It’s a wonderful place to spend your hard-earned student loan, except; there are a few things wrong with the place. To start, the recent reshuffle has meant that the food has been moved to the back of the store, along with the stationery, what is that all about? The two together is just jarring, you know? When you get to the till, if you want to use your card, I hope you have £2.50 worth of stuff to be able to use the cash machine, otherwise you’re going to be buying stuff you don’t need. The biggest problem however, is the lack of prices on most of their stuff; there are prices, but most of them don’t relate to what’s actually on the shelf. I’ve gone in countless times and got a shock at the till. The shop is a great resource in the union, especially for lazy students like me, for whom Northumberland Street is just too far, but they really need to get their act together.

By Jack Parker

WHAT GRANTS?

The new Osborne budget plans for all maintenance grants for students from unprivileged backgrounds are to be scrapped starting September 2016. Along with that, Chancellor Osborne is increasing the maintenance loan to over £8k – something he doesn’t fail to mention is “the highest amount of support ever provided.” The fact that the maintenance loan isn’t enough to live on has been debated over and over. And now that it is, that comes at a high price. The grants have been a constant source of support to people of low-income backgrounds. It’s not substantial to claim that the grants are to no longer be provided because they’re “unaffordable”, yet the eagerness to get students into more debt certainly looks affordable to the government. The financial landscape for students is getting darker and darker come next year, and university is getting more and more inaccessible as time goes by. Increasing fees and reducing financial support isn’t going to make the job market less crowded, Mr. Osborne. Providing adequate career development, lowering debt and turning universities into educational institutions rather than money-led business might. This new change is unreasonable and its only effect will be unnecessarily restricting access to much needed education.

By Antonia Velikova

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