‘Students! Bloody students again!’ If you’re like me then this is one of those refrains you’ll have seen and heard countless times, whether from that family next-door who hate our noise or in the papers where we’re to blame for all the woes of the country. We, along with the unemployed, are the scapegoat citizens for modern Britain.
With front-page headlines showing our drunken debauchery and tales of our depraved antics regaled by the middle-classes at dinner parties, we are a hated bunch. We exist at the expense of the tax-payer, and use their hard-earned cash to fuel our hedonistic lifestyles of sex, drugs and alcohol; never putting anything back into the local community but more than happy to half-inch the odd road-sign or two to adorn our front lawns.
We’re all studying ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees at ‘Ronald McDonald’ institutions and, if you believe the rumours, most of us will be graduating with a Thora or, if we’re lucky, a Desmond in hairdressing or hotel management. We only turn up to a handful of lectures and those that we do attend we spend at the back catching up on sleep, because we had to stumble home at 7am from the house of some bird we’d pulled the night before (can‘t remember her name…again).
Our morals are lacking or non-existent, and our parents think that our Universities are a cesspit of STI’s waiting to explode into the general population. We eat leftover pizza that’s three days old and a beer before lunch is perfectly acceptable as long as you’ve got a drinking buddy with you. And who cares if we get ill – the NHS and the tax-payer are there to pick us right back up again! Antibiotics are meant to be fed with alcohol, it makes the pills go down faster – didn’t you know this?
This is what I hate about student life! Students are painted as being self-serving, twisted creatures who exist at odds with the rest of society, who are determined to play first and work never. Yes, okay, we do get up to mischief and we do have a good time (we’re young! You did it too!) but we’re actually a rather unassuming lot. We do study hard and we are responsible – yes Mum, I am eating my greens! But most of all, we too are a part of this community and this country.
You see us shuffling home at 2am looking bleary-eyed, but we’ve been in the library studying for finals! We’ve got exams, you see, and they’re rather important… the culmination of a year’s sustained effort where we have had the nose to the grindstone. In-between the partying and the studying, many of us are involved in local volunteer projects from local schools to nursing homes to gardening schemes – we like our neighbours! We smile and say hello as we pass you in the street but, more often than not, we’re the underclass and the ones you avoid. Smile back – we’re human, we won’t bite!
Some of us now are making the transition into the big wide world where we’ll join you in tutting and looking disapproving; we will be responsible like you! But until then, forgive us this last month of noise and nuisance – you must understand; we’re partying, we’ve finished, we’re moving on!