Yes I said it...
Students are rich.
You may be surviving of Pot Noodles and collecting pennies from street corners to pay for the electricity but do not feel ashamed because you have lots of time available and time is one of the most valuable assets on Earth.
If we strip away to the core of the economic system then what essentially remains is the transfer of free time. We buy time by investing in a fridge, purchasing a bike and even buying clothing. If you did not have such commodities then you would spend your day salting meats and investing in other primitive methods to keep your food supplies fresh. You would spend an extra hour getting to work, seeing friends or visiting family members and spend a good few days knitting your own clothing!
This specialisation of labor has gifted the majority of the western world with a lot of free time. And within the demographics of such a society none have more then us students. We have buckets of the stuff. Even when we have spent time in Lectures (13 hours per week on average), completed all of our assigned pieces of work and finished a 6 hour shift at the local bar. We have football pitch size amounts of time to spend on whatever we want. So logically speaking we are some of the richest people on earth.
So we have loads of free time and that makes us rich but I still can't go out and buy an Aston Martin with it because in reality a lot of free time does not mean you will be able to acquire much of any real material value at all. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary having lots of free time is positively a great thing. You can't buy an Aston Martin with two days of free time but you can invest it into meeting friends, sharing stories, relaxing and keeping healthy. So with these facts considered it is no reason that students are statistically the happiest demographic thanks to our free time surplus. A surplus which we can spend as we please. But spending as we please often leads us to some issues.
The main problem with "doing as we please" is that this often means becoming part of the social prototype of a university student I.E someone who wastes their precious time on binge drinking, lie-ins and other destructive behaviours. This in itself is not a bad thing in moderation, every single person in this world could do with smoking some weed a good few times in their life as well as getting hammered during a night out with their friends. Anyone who tries to deny the fun in this is a liar! However the extent to which most students indulge in such pastimes is excessive and disturbing.
You are not only wasting your money on such endeavours but your precious, precious free time. Some may say that this is the "last blast" before condoning themselves to a 40 year of 9-5 open prison sentence. And if you don't mind giving away the best years of your life to a job you hate just so you can live the last 20 of them in relative comfort then please continue with your endeavours.
I wish you luck
But for those that see the value in their free time then there are many alternative ways in which it can be used to lay the foundations for a career based on your dreams and full potential.
Investing Your Free Time
Our time at university is a time to grow and develop as an individual. The way I see it I am studying for a degree because I enjoy learning, of course a part of me was motivated by the propaganda of my college years which preached about the dangers of not having a degree within the employment sector but I genuinely enjoy reading and learning about the world around me.
Another significant reason I am still at university is because it has given me a social "time out". I have had time to be able to really think about what I want to do with my life rather then be herded into a meaningless job at 18. This is something which many people who work 40 hours a week do not have the luxury to be able to do. I talk to many students about this and they tell me that their whole perspective on life had changed over the duration of their time at university.
However I am also a realist. The world is tough and I want to be able to have enough monetary resources at my disposal for me to be able to purchase the lifestyle required to enable me to buy my time back (and there is a small manner of a student loan). That is why I am investing my free time at university into myself, into others and into great ideas. It is all well and good enjoying a three year party but be prepared for an almighty come down once you graduate because nobody really cares about your party years in the working world.
I want to leave university with a return on my invested free time. It could be a business, even a volunteer opportunity working abroad or in another country helping less advantaged people. The fact is that at university we have the time to be able to attempt such ventures and we have little or no obligation to earn a sustainable income to support a family or pay for other things which come along with being a fully fledged adult. So if you have burning idea which you have kept on the backboiler until times are better to pursue it then realise that there is no time better then now to start acting on it because when you are older you will have too many responsibilities to just drop everything and chase your dreams.
Think of your free time as your future self giving your present self some breathing space. A prize of free time which we have full power to use for our benefit or for our demise. A gift money cannot buy so do not waste it.