In a place where royals once studied, top-notch golfers roam and tourists gather, it is no wonder that St Andrews is often considered to be a bit ‘posh’. Let’s face it – St Andrews has a reputation for being pretty high-class.
But there is a “hidden” type of St Andrews student, and they are more prevalent than we might think. There are certainly many students that have loans, scholarships or jobs in order to fund their expensive bar, rent and grocery bills. As we say goodbye to sunny summer days and welcome library lighting accompanied by the stress of deadlines, for some, the countdown to summer travels has begun. For others, being back simply means the discontinuation of a paycheck.
Often times we may get caught up in the vibe of the bubble, and even if we wish to get a job our timetable simply does not allow it. In all seriousness, the academic and social life of St Andrews is demanding.
For example, a second year Maths student who had a job the entire summer said he does not have time to have a job during the school year. But a third year student who has two jobs said, “I have to fit it in. Otherwise, I can’t afford to be at university.” This student also brought up how it does not help that the prices in St Andrews are inflated, and in fact our Tesco is one of the most expensive in the UK. She mentioned that we lack an abundance of cheap choices for meals and drinks, and that the shops here are catered towards a different clientele. Due to all of this, there is an overwhelming need to work.
In a similar sense, many foreign students fall outside the preconceived image of international students. While it is often assumed that all of the foreign students are very wealthy, considering that foreign students have the steepest tuition and often do not have access to student loans, it is not fair to say that international students do not also struggle with money. For many Americans, studying here is actually half the price of what they might be paying to attend an American university.
It may be true that the antiquity of this town and the cost of living here promote a certain lifestyle in St Andrews. But if we were to introduce inexpensive stores and change the environment here, that lifestyle might change.
Obviously the preconceptions of St Andrews students are flawed. The crucial point is to recognize that there is a diverse community here. We need to accept that while some students might fit the stereotype, by no means is everyone the “typical” St Andrews student. So be individualistic – don’t buy red pants just to conform. It’s time for the “hidden” St Andrews students to come out of hiding.