Student wealth & waste: whatever happened to abject poverty?

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Photo: GETTY
Photo: GETTY
Photo: GETTY

People used to ask me what I would have if I were filthy rich.

Looking back, the answer should have been gout. Already I consume an unhealthy amount of fine wine and chateaubriand and, despite the abundant evidence that red meat consumption causes the ice caps to melt and that excessive alcohol intake will turn my eyes yellow, the only thing stopping me from indulging more is my income.

Accordingly, one can imagine the look of bafflement on my face when I see videos of students pouring twenty-odd bottles of champagne all over themselves, as seen at the 2016 St Andrews Charity Polo Tournament or more notoriously in the 2012 “champagning” incident. Parodying the “milking” meme, a group of St Andrews students elected to substitute milk with Moët. Making headlines with the BBC, Daily Mail and Huffington Post, albeit for the wrong reasons, the stunt was at least somewhat amusing. Regardless, it serves nicely in illustrating my point.

And thus, this letter is born:

To the few students who fulfil the unfortunate “St Andrews” rich-kid stereotype,

I understand that you have the right to spend your student income however you like, but for God’s sake, please stop pissing it away. In fact, by all means piss it away. At least that would mean you had drunk it, rather than sprayed it into the ground at whatever fantastic sporting tournament you most recently attended. Or, if you must, do indeed waste it, but do so in private with others who can afford to, rather than chinning your Hendricks in front of my face at the Union.

Sincerely,

A thirsty student 

The prototypical (shout-out to N. Franks’ thesaurus) connotation of “student” was once characterised by destitution. Thanks to student loans, minimum wage legislation and the like, the fortunate majority of us are able to exist above the poverty line. By no means do I say that we should all return to Neanderthal living standards. Rather, those who have the means to drink ourselves silly ought to do so with a little more respect towards the rest of us.

I know my case will likely fall on deaf ears, but fear not, fellow humble students. In the words of a revered man, “every one that exalteth himself shall be abased” (Luke 18:9, KJV), in this case through gout and liver failure.

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