All work and no fun?

July 03, 2022

How does the financial situation of the country affect the students?

Share Next Story >>>


I

t is no lie that money is rarely a student’s
best friend.

That was, however, rarely the case for me during my high school years in Lahore; I would receive a fixed pocket money from my parents every month, and it would get me through the month. My tuition fee and all transportation expenditure were looked after by my parents, and all my pocket money would go towards hanging out with my friends and ordering fast food that was definitely doing no favours to my health. All of that changed when I had to move to another city for my education.

Things were already starkly different than what I was used to in high school. No longer did I have my parents drop me off at a friend’s house or a restaurant. I now had to rely on Uber and Careem for that, and later In-Driver, due to its comparatively lower rates. No longer did I have my mother’s cooking to get me through the night; rather, my only options were to order from apps like Foodpanda or rely on the hostel vending machine (remarkably short on supplies). Every little cost from stationary to food now started adding up, and my meagre pocket money was rarely enough to cover the costs.

All of this has gotten exacerbated in recent times due to the tumultuous state of national economy. This isn’t an issue only the boarders in my university have to deal with; it is an issue for students anywhere in the country. Unless someone is from a particularly well-off family, the current situation is creating hardships for anyone hoping to have a good time in their pursuit of higher education.

Judging from my talks with my day scholar friends, the economic situation facing our country is one that affects them as well. Having to incur the massive travel costs that the recent hikes in fuel prices have brought about is a matter of serious concern to them.

It’s a given that students would be found at the khokhas and dhabas or any cafés in the vicinity of their campuses… They now also have to deal with the fact that their usual spots for hanging out after a hectic day at university have gotten more expensive.

The higher fuel prices have meant that the rates for the ride-hailing apps have also increased abruptly; meaning, even a short ride can upset your budget. This is a serious concern for those for whom these are their main modes of commuting.

Things are even worse when we talk about food. It’s a given that students would be found at khokhas and dhabas or any cafés in the vicinity of their campuses. As if the increased cost of transportation was not bad enough, they now also have to deal with the fact that their usual spots for hanging out after a hectic day at university have gotten more expensive. A single cup of tea, or iced tea, or lemonade, considering how hot this year the summer has been, now comes at a rate jacked up by 20 to 30 rupees.

The hectic schedules the students have means that such locations are also their primary spots for sustenance, even for the boarders, because the less said about the state of the mess food the better. An increase in the price of food has led to a dilemma; either starve yourself or cut into your already dwindling budgets.

The case for stationary items like pens, registers etc, even textbooks, is no different. All of this coupled with the way every university in the country seems to think that the best course of action to take is to increase the fees.

It is not uncommon to see my fellow students doing part-time jobs to make up for how ridiculous the current situation with inflation has become. From giving tuitions in the evenings, to taking up freelance work, most of them have to look for avenues to not compromise much on the quality of living.


The writer is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at NUST. He can be reached at araheemabaidgmail.com



More From Shehr