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May 19, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Being Broke

After being harassed yet again for “spare change or cigarettes” by the broke, and asked to sponsor poor children’s causes, I decided what to write about this week.

As a student, I am always broke. After rent, power and internet, I barely have enough left over to eat with. I know that I sound selfish. There are people out there in need of help. Some people beg; others have agencies begging for them. And here I am fending them off with whatever excuses I can think of.

I don’t see it as selfish. I see it as thinking of my own problems before trying to solve everyone else’s. I get the same amount of money every week, and as a student on such a limited income, I struggle to make ends meet. I know that out of the thousands of students in Wellington, I’m not alone. Being a full time student can be a job in itself, so having time for a part time job can be next to impossible at times. So there is the problem of not having enough time to yourself in order to have more money, or less money for the sake of more study time. Where does the balance come in? Of course, there are many students that use their study time up with social time.

Yet I feel empathy for those with cars. Being that I struggle without a car, I can imagine what the students that do own cars will be going through. With parking in this city, WoF, rego, gas, how do those students live? Prices just keep getting higher, but our benefit stays the same. When the gas price increases, our benefit does not. When the price per litre of milk is higher than gas, we can’t buy more than what we can afford. So what is more important? Milk, or gas? Do you leave your car at home, so you can buy milk with what you have saved on gas and parking? Or do you skip the milk so you can get to University quicker, warmer and drier? With the winter months advancing quickly, we will be spending more on power, and probably buying more milk for our rising coffee consumption.

So I return to the “spare change” topic. I barely have money for myself, so find it aggravating being asked for money. These people live that way, but what do they really spend their money on? And as for the fundraisers, they are just doing what they are paid to do. It is their job to beg money on someone else’s behalf, but surely they understand what “I’m a student” means? It means “I have no money for myself let alone anyone else.” Do they take that hint?

The joys of being a student. We have to be broke while we study, so we can work hard when we graduate. We have to work hard in our studies, so we aren’t left begging in the streets, or a cause so lost that we need people to beg on our behalf. I feel for the starving children, but with my struggles today, I am ensuring that my children are well provided for in the future.

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