Travelling is something we hope will grant us a sense of freedom. It provides an escape route from the demands of ‘adult life’ that loom ahead of students. Visiting new places, experiencing different cultures and observing renowned landmarks are all exciting components that pull the desires of young adults to getting out to see the world. However, for numerous debt-ridden university students these wonderful visions are no more than a pipe dream.
Is the concept of a getaway abroad just a romantic distraction from the monotonous, cyclical routine of academia?
Regardless of whether it is just a dreamy hindrance, the idyllic canvas painted in an individual’s mind when they book their next holiday never fails to give a personal boost of excitement. Arguably, having something to look forward to can help you bravely battle the continuous demands of assignments and exams; therefore, the excursion abroad seems the best prescription for a study-sick student.
We become convinced that we need to exploit our ability to travel and see the world while we are young
But in reality, while some are lucky enough to have the financial means to materialise this dream, many students cannot do so. Some only have just about enough student finance to cover rent and necessities. It’s not easy to avoid the urge to go on an adventure; after seeing our favourite celebrities on social media enjoy a fancy getaway, we can’t help but vicariously yearn to be tanned by the summer sun or to be pervaded by the culinary delights surrounding the sublime depiction.
Once we continue to carry on our lives, we are inundated with a fear of missing out. We become convinced that we need to exploit our ability to travel and see the world while we are young. While I admire some students working tirelessly to gather up enough money, whimsically ticking off each day on the calendar until the big day of departure arrives, I can’t help but sympathise for the absence of living in the moment.
Once the highly-anticipated period away is over, not only do the post-vacation blues kick in but as a student, you’re left monetarily disadvantaged. Then, the agenda turns once again to the arduous task of maintaining a part-time job, with the prime purpose to afford that escape from reality. At our age, we all do a great job of keeping up with the fast-paced environment around us. But sometimes it’s so easy to become swept away into a blurred reality; the main thing your mind is focussed on is months away, and yet days full of promise are entering the history books unexploited.
The crux of the matter is that we tend to spend all of our efforts attaining this romanticised lifestyle of exploring the world instead of focusing on how we can maximise our livelihood in the current moment. Of course, if you are affluent and financially secure enough to travel the world between studying, I think it’s a feasible hobby. However, if you find yourself utilising your free time for a tedious and unsatisfying part-time job with the only foresight of yet another foreign place to explore, maybe reevaluate your choices.
It’s best to try and see the best of everyday life, instead of constantly waiting for the next high
I can’t help but encourage you to skip a summer abroad based on what may help with your well-being and perception of ‘living in the now’. Why not explore the culture of places in the UK you haven’t been to yet, or use the summer to take on a job you think you’ll enjoy. There are two merits behind this suggestion: on the one hand, you are being sensible supplementing your future, which will boost your current well-being; on the other hand, you are gaining money which will enable you the power to choose a place to travel the coming year, which will boost your future well-being.
Therefore, having taken thought and resisted the impulse to tick another international visit off the list, you may find yourself satisfied with the current you, and excited for the future you. Why I think this may help those who are stuck in that cycle is, rather than toiling away your spare time at university – where you should be getting involved in societies or socialising with your friends – you’ve got the money behind you. But this time, the money came from a source of self-worth building, rather than a source of self-worth diminishing.
If your current financial position prevents you from reaching the corners of the world you want to see, don’t worry. After all, life is a journey, not a destination; it’s best to try and see the best of everyday life, instead of constantly waiting for the next high.