After listening to a podcast of my good friend Geoff Lloyd's Hometime Show, when he was talking to an independent financial expert, something which was said makes more sense than anything else I've heard in a long while:
"To put it simply, we as a nation (the UK) educate our youth to rack up debt. When they go to university, compulsory borrowing is part of being a student but we never educate them about debt. We don' have lessons in schools, we don't have it in university and we have limited advise for adults.
We are fundamentally debt illiterate as a nation and yet we've all gone out and borrowed money, and frankly the fact we have never educated people how to do it is a national disgrace and you wonder why we're in such trouble right now (with the recession)."
In the grand scale of debt, the United States wins the trophy every time. From memory, and don't quote me on it, but I believe the US is the most in-debt country on the planet, and something like, "if the US paid off their debt, that's the same as buying everyone in Africa dinner for a year". You get the idea, it's a huge amount of money.
The podcast continued with a question from a student who wanted to save £1,000 for the next year. The simple answer was:
"You'll probably have to go out there, get yourself a job, and don't spend anything".
Students who want to go into specialised technological fields, such as surgical technology or mass media communications are finding it difficult to support themselves in the current climate, due to rising costs of tuition fees and living costs.
Not only that, keeping the balance between working for money and studying for exams is becoming more and more out of kilter. One student says:
"People are losing their jobs, and I don't think I'm making enough money at my job."
How do you expect to support yourself in university when the menial jobs you do pay very little, costs of living and studying are rising, and there is an ever increasingly bleak future for when you find a career? The fact of the matter is, students are finding it incredibly difficult to stay afloat during their studies and even harder to maintain a career or salary after they leave.
As I have said many a time to my friends and siblings: it's not what you know, but who you know. Industry connections are the most powerful form of leverage you will get. So once you find them, stick to them for as long as possible.