For the past month now I have forcibly drowned my financial fears with the angelic lulls of a brilliantly talented Swedish band, echoing around the house in which I share with three other people whose music taste is in total disagreement with mine. Such songs enable me to create a temporary world parallel to our own, in which all that mattered was being dressed in loose clothes, barefoot on a beach with your friends, dancing sleepily around an entrancing bonfire as the light gently kisses the shadows of you and your fellow human beings.
However, I am rudely awoken back in to the real world with a bitter thud, as I check the latest situation concerning my bank account, and almost collapse with a fierce shortness of breath shuddering through my body as I am reassured that I can only withdraw enough money to last me a further week. Fear not, I told myself whilst I begrudgingly handed over some of the aforementioned money to cover the cost of some much sought after yoghurt bars, I would find a job and be able to afford anything I liked.
However, in this moment of mad confidence I failed to remember that I have been looking for a job for the past few months and have not succeeded. The intense frustration, and, at some points panic would haunt me to the point in which I was unable to sleep, and the rejection of any job application, if just one, is a hard blow to ones feelings. This vicious circle is a growing trend in the lifestyles of students at this time of year; with the application of grants and loans thanks to student finance it is common behaviour for the typical student to spend a subsequent amount of such funds on holidays, festivals, or other such exciting activities, or, in my case, a few weeks after receiving such financial aid, you find yourself looking at your account and thinking to yourself “where has it all gone?”. In my experience, rent and bills are the main parasites with regards to your money situation, and yeah, admittedly quite a bit is spent on nights out, or alcohol, but hey, when students, behave as students do huh?
Someone once told me that applying to jobs online was like sending a message in a bottle, in to space, and, in a way I do agree with this. Nowadays, it is barely heard of that an organisation is hiring jobs such as Bar Staff, or Shop Assistants in person, and the online applications leave you feeling categorised and the light of your hope dimming further after every button the multiple choice answers provide you with. The overpopulating awareness that the rates of unemployment are growing by the minute, it is no shock that every job opening is regarded with increasing importance and you find yourself clasping the ever more distant possibility of beating other likewise desperate applicants and being the successor of the job.
A student can easily get frustrated with their job search, however, there are people at the University whose job it is to help and encourage you in your careers and ambitions. At Leeds Metropolitan University we have a ‘Job Shop’ at both the Headingley and City campuses, which also provides an online job search on the Leeds Metropolitan University website. These people help to build your confidence, and ensure that you are fully aware of what opportunities are available for you, and what you can do to shine yourself in the best light possible. This Jobshop is very helpful and I constantly receive emails regarding jobs newly posted on the online Jobshop giving a wide variety of occupations and therefore appealing to every member of the sea of students struggling to swim in the raging sea of unemployment.
Leeds Metropolitan University also provides you help with anything that is bothering their students, and just strengthens the student’s relationships with their University. You leave appointments with such ‘Helpzone’ staff members feeling less stressed, and more determined, with a head full of advice you will take in to consideration. Talking from the experience of my own loan and grant failing to be paid to me for a considerable amount of my first year, I have visited one of the Helpzones at Leeds Met for financial advice, and arrived in such a quivering ball of panic that I almost believed that the staff member I had booked an appointment with was a councillor for me to vent every strand of worry on to, however, thanks to the fantastically friendly personality of this staff member, I went home happy in the knowledge that I knew exactly who to ring, who to shout at and who to keep on my good side, and it paid off, within a few weeks I received both my grant and the rest of my loan.
My advice to any student in a financial rut, please do not suffer on your own, find a staff member of which is qualified to know exactly how to deal with such a situation, or who will advise you where to go on campus to guide you. My advice to a suffering student at Leeds Metropolitan University, find a Helpzone at either Headingley, or Civic campus, the staff are paid to help you, and are friendly people who understand what you are going through, hell, we are only human afterall.
WRITTEN BY CHARLOTTE OWEN, LEEDS METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY.