#117 ~ Student Living – Hard Times

When you trade in Alpro soya milk for Sainsbury’s Basic Value Unsweetened Soya that comes in a recyclable carton, is not refrigerated and costs 57p, you can either lie and tell yourself you are being economically suave, or simply ‘you is broke’.

I worked hard in the summer. Beating up the pavements with my above-board superwoman-esque Charity-Fundraising-Dialogue techniques, i incurred the wrath of the apathetic and charity-harrangued public for six hard weeks after my A-levels. My first day someone told me that all the people in Africa should be gathered together and nuked. I had been threatened, in Clapham Junction, with a snake-hissing charity-hater. I had been called a chugger – an insulting and degrading term of ‘charity mugger’ which we endeavoured to re-appropriate into charity hugger. I had shaken scaly unwashed hands, I had been ‘chirpsed’, I had been abused by hail and rain, smoke and pain  –  lots of pain. Yes, I worked hard, I prayed hard, kept up a smile and was successful.

For a first job, i would not recommend charity fundraising. It can be soul destroying. When my normally nonchalant brother called to check on me after my first day, I collapsed, in tears on our front steps. I tasted my mucus, it was salty, and stank of the streets. I remember getting actual panic attacks in the morning. Asthma attacks even, at the fearful thought of going out in public to become a victim to ‘busy’ London. But I survived.

Paying for all of this upfront took that beautiful, luxurious word ‘savings’ straight out my mouth, like a man in Wembley expertly spitting quat. 

I was proud that my hard work had paid off, and not only could I afford to pay for my sister and I to go away for a week to the incredible Christian youth event  Momentum, but I could also afford to survive in Uni. Yes. For once, I had positive credit to my name in the style of a CASH ISA. That’s right – I had savings. Such a delectable word. Say it again, as the Hyenas call in the Lion King, except instead of the name Mufasa it is Savings. Savings, savings, ssssavings.

*Drops back down to frugal reality. It hurts.*

I am a student. Student = student living  = hard times.

  • When you get to the point where you are mixing last night’s burnt rice with undercooked, unwashed lentils, raw curry powder, shito pepper and Red Leicester cheese, lying to yourself that it’s a meal, you are on the way to rock bottom.
  • When that is after an exam, you are having problems.
  • When you trade in Alpro soya milk for Sainsbury’s Basic Value Unsweetened Soya that comes in a recyclable carton, is not refrigerated and costs 57p, you can either lie and tell yourself you are being economically suave, or simply ‘you is broke’.
  • When you have run out of hair oil and have to use coca butter to prevent dandruff attaching itself to your afro – cocoa butter (yes, not even vaseline as if you could afford that?!), that’s when you need to join Kanye’s Broke-phi-Broke fraternity.
  • When you do not have a phone because you cannot afford to buy one, and if someone bought one for you, you could not top it up, then, well then it really is the beginning of the end.

In the space of 10 days I have achieved all the above. Yes, all the above.

I do eat my cereal with a teaspoon to pretend that the dust particles of Basics Muesli really do count as a meal,

And it’s not because I’m a squanderer, no, not at all. It’s because

  1. My University works on an arrears payment system,
  2.  I recently decided to work for 5 weeks in South Africa,
  3. I am required to buy at least 3 Shakespeare plays a week to complete my weekly essays – and they have to be Arden.

Paying for all of this upfront took that beautiful, luxurious word ‘savings’ straight out my mouth, like a man in Wembley expertly spitting quat.

Yet, even if I do eat my cereal with a teaspoon to pretend that the dust particles of Basics Muesli really do count as a meal, I am reassured that I am ok. It is a journey and I have people who will pick me up when I fall and help me on my way. It is also an initiation into the life that people have half-heartedly joked art students inevitably wander into. I have lovingly started naming the baked beans in my, obviously, Sainsbury’s Basics can. When we get down to Bill, Bob and Ben…well that’s a sad day.

Yet, I am blessed. Blessed to be able to laugh and share and reminisce in it, because I have two beautiful people who remind me that  it is the learning curve into maturity and adulthood. It’s also the time when we are humbled in our beliefs that wealth, economic prowess, savings – they can be stripped away in an instant. And it makes you question  – are you humble enough to admit an economic weakness, receive support and grow again, or does your worth and pride consume you and prevent an honest, humble acknowledgement that you can’t afford your ride?

Student living. It’s hard times but it is well worth getting on this ride of experience.

(Also, learn how to make soup. I have some parsnips and a leek in my fridge. I have recently learnt that I only need those 2 ingredients to make…parsnip soup! Jame Oliver, eat your heart out.).

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 thoughts on “#117 ~ Student Living – Hard Times

  1. T says:

    raw curry powder? I’m sure you have oil and a wok – hello stir fried rice. I’m not so sure if you’re economically broke or food-oriented imagination-wise broke. Well, hope exams went well and you pick yourself up if not: beg a food bag off mum?

    Anyway, good blog: very funny!!!

    • Kéhindè says:

      Nah – i mixed in the curry powder with the lentils – then mum explained that I needed to fry the curry powered before hand. It’s a combination of poor cooking skills and genuine lack of money- but I dey go survive o! – like the danfoe bus says :)

  2. Andy says:

    wow i didn’t know you had to fry curry powder! And sainsbury’s meusili is my fuel of choice every day! Good times and a great blog. I can reccommend Asda for bargainous buys, and also to sink a bit lower, https://www.livebelowtheline.com/
    Andy :)

  3. Boye says:

    This is yet another rite of passage. I do envy the choice you have though, Sainsbury’s Soy milk, lentils, curry, mouthwatering good stuff. A little more variety than garri and epa, or garri and akara.

  4. […] situation in my first year and had managed to write a funny (in my opinion) post about it (read it here). But this time round Sainsbury’s basics wasn’t even on the cards. Just a lot of […]

Let me hear your Voice

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: