Forget the rankings, London is the worst place in the UK to be a student
Everything is so so spenny
Yesterday, it was reported that London is the best city in the UK to study, the fifth best in the world and I don’t believe a word of it.
Back in my days as an undergrad I was blessed to experience life far away from London. I went to Hull University and it completely changed my perception of London. I’ve lived in central London my entire life, but it wasn’t until I went to Hull that I could truly appreciate what London is.
I don’t use “appreciate” in a positive way: spending three years in Hull, and three years railcarding the fuck out of trains during holidays was an educational experience. Perhaps more educational than my film studies degree. When you reach London from the idyllic countryside of the North you’ll find obsessively shiny, newer business buildings, an infinite supply of shops, never-ending noise, countless people.
Some get really excited by this and say “Oh it’s an amazing city, it has such life, there’s so much to do” and tell you they “Love the hustle and bustle.”
London’s full of wealth, full of opportunity, full of people, there’s lots to see and do. But it’s precisely because of that I think it’s shit. As a student you can’t afford or won’t get invited to the exclusive clubs or parties that London is famous for. You won’t go to the sights because you can’t move for tourists. And while you may be close to the buzzing heart of the corporate world, you’re always on the outside looking in.
So what are you left with?
London as a student is nothing but a cold, soulless city. There’s a sense of fragmentation and alienation everywhere, tourists get so excited about the tube, but why? You’re surrounded by miserable looking strangers. They don’t know you, they don’t want to know you, try talking to a stranger in London and you’ll regret it.
Now I’m doing my masters in this city and have had to readjust to London life, I’ve remembered how terrible it is. Everywhere is fucking rammed. You can’t walk more than one mile an hour. You can’t drive anywhere. The tube is horrendous. Granted, we’re not Tokyo, but it’s still sweaty, stuffy and usually delayed. The tube is one of the most miserable experiences available to man, I only have to use it three times a week to get to University but it’s always the worst part of my week.
It may claim to be one of the best travel systems in the world – though you’d hope so when drivers are paid 50k a year – but it’s such a stressful experience. Lost tourists, Oyster failings, people standing on the left of the escalator, and you’re always in a rush because this is London and in London time seems to move quicker than any human should have to.
Plus, the nightlife is shit. Even the smokers corners disappoint. Elsewhere they’re filled with interesting people but in London they’re saturated with uppity girls who read too many year ten Tumblrs. I say excuse me to get past a girl and there default reply is, “Sorry I got a man” or “What do you want I’ve got a boyfriend?”
On top of that, cloakrooms charge two pounds. Now, two pounds may not sound like much but when you add that up over time I can’t help but think I’m better off bearing the brutish British weather? If you don’t think two pounds is steep for someone to hang up your jackets how about London rent, when you can pay £400 a month for camp bed in someone’s kitchen.
It’s tragic because if you’re a student and you’re studying, you know you have no future in London. Maybe I’m being hyperbolic, I do have a future here. But it’s a shit one – one where nearly half of my monthly pay check goes into the PayPal account of my landlord. Where rising TFL costs mean I travel to work on packed stuffy trains and am photographed by Chinese tourists who just can’t seem to get enough of this city. Where I’ll keep renting because I’ll never be able to buy a house bigger than a thimble.
I’m doubting my future in London as a student, as a worker, even as a human being. What’s the future here? If I were you, I’d get on Google Maps, click feeling Lucky, and get out while you still can.