THE BLOG

University Is Far From Accessible for All

17/04/2013 12:05 BST | Updated 16/06/2013 10:12 BST

University students are often viewed as party goers, with bundles of enthusiasm and excitement for life. But not all are like they, many have a good time within limits and responsibility.

Many do not have a choice. Parents and the older generations joke about students living off instant noodles, because they cannot afford other food. This is true, but not because of the amount spent on drink and other social occasions.

As a student that receives the highest amount of student loan, including grants and bursaries you would expect me to say that I have enough to live on. Well in January, after getting into serious financial chaos after the first term, I looked closely at my finances.

After Liberty Living took rent for their frankly substandard overpriced room at Liberty Quays, Medway I was left with £35 a week for shopping, traveling to see friends, medication and clothes washing, as well as having to factor in my overdue optician appointment over 200 miles away from my university.

People at present are talking about making Iain Duncan Smith live off nearly £60 a week and how that is clearly a ridiculous amount to live on. I fully agree, I have been left financially broken and a mental mess after not being able to afford university living.

But sadly for me, things get worse from there. I left university in January to return in September, to give me time to sort some personal issues out and I thought everybody seemed very understanding. I was clearly mistaken.

Liberty Living management are refusing to even respond to my recent communications asking who I talk to further up the management chain to explain the long list of circumstances and reasons I have. So at present, I have to find £1000 for next terms rent, which as I am £50 away from my overdraft limit, is clearly never going to happen.

Unfortunately for them, I have every right to be dissatisfied with them. When I applied to live there (the only first year student housing available to University of Kent students at Medway) I asked for something on the ground floor so if there were fire alarms I wouldn't have to go down the stairs with lots of other people because of health reasons. Sadly they didn't listen, and many a time the fire alarm has gone off and I have had to sleepily stumble down the stairs.

Beyond all this, the fact we never all got told where to go if there was a fire alarm, I believe isn't very health and safety aware. After nearly three months of living there, a practice was scheduled, sadly a lot of people had lectures and classes to attend, including myself, so I still hadn't been told by management where to actually go.

And finally, at the start of the tenancy we had to tell them if anything was broken, so it could be fixed. When I started moving my stuff out of my flat, the oven and lights were all still broken. A person had been to fix them, looked at them and said he would come back, but he never did. In some ways I am glad he did not return as he stood on his toolbox to look at the lights, which as it had wheels sent him wobbling all over the kitchen.

Liberty Living have put mine and other students lives in danger on multiple occasions, they haven't respected our needs and wishes and now they expect a student that cannot afford to breath to pay rent for an unsatisfactory room.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse financially, my university contacts me. I had already contacted them asking about various funding I had received and was scheduled to receive. The impression I was under from the communication and from the terms and conditions I signed, implied that intermitting from university meant that the funding would continue from where it left off.

In my case this meant that I would not get another payment of scholarship and bursary until Easter the following year. However, to the university this means that I have to pay back nearly half of what they gave me at Christmas. The University of Kent wants nearly £400 returned to them, which I do not have due to traveling expenses and getting essential university equipment.

It looks like I have a couple of options available to me. The first being eat fresh air, continue looking for non-existent jobs and try to be in several different places at once or the second just give up on the world, tell everybody they can screw their demands and escape all the personal problems and worries that I have.

At the minute I am looking to the second choice, as I am basically a hidden homeless 18 year old that is completely messed up and cannot at present even find a way to get back to Kent to continue my studies next year.

We are supposed to be proud of our universities, our student living providers and the support that people are given and yet when we need support and care they turn their backs, close their eyes and just put their hand out to collect money.

If Iain Duncan Smith thinks we can all live off less than £60 a week, I challenge him to spend a month in the shoes of somebody like me, see how long it takes him to get to a point of hating life with not having a real address, a job or any money for food, water, travel and heating.

Of course, the sad reality is that I feel like this because of the pressures of going to university in the first place, because it is the only way to hope to get a job and it is the only way to avoid being classed as a failure in government statistics.

I hope the government, universities and student living like Liberty Living are proud of what they are driving people too. I can say for sure, they have all ruined my life and my mental state; right now there is nothing left to live for. This is the height of capitalism, money grabbers that don't care if they send you to your grave, as long as they remain rich and happy.