Opinion – Khalais Waerea
So, Im in my last year of high school, an exciting yet daunting part of my life. Exciting in the sense that I become an adult, somewhat free of the ropes that have been wrapped around me my whole life, and daunting in the sense that I cant run …
By Khalais Waerea
Mar 18, 2017
So, I’m in my last year of high school, an exciting yet daunting part of my life. Exciting in the sense that I become an adult, somewhat free of the ropes that have been wrapped around me my whole life, and daunting in the sense that I can’t run to my mum every time I need something, and oh, no big deal, but I have to make my mind up on the future of my life by next year!
It’s been weighing on my mind that right about this time next year, I’ll either be: in my first semester of university, having to go back to high school for yet another year because I didn’t end up getting UE, or sitting on my bed being a bum.
Like thousands of other year 13 students across New Zealand, I’m now faced with the dilemma of not only gaining NCEA level 3, and UE, but also making my mind up on what the hell I want to do with my life. We’ve had several speakers come into our school from different universities, all pitching to us why we should go there. But, reality check, most of us haven’t even decided what we want to do with our lives, let alone what university we’re going to do it at.
The decisions of course subjects and University options are not the only things weighing on our minds either. Um hello, student loans! I’ve read numerous accounts of experiences from people who graduated university a decade ago and came out with a $60,000 loan that they’re still paying off today! I do not want that to be me.
So now comes the decision of whether I want to take a gap year to work and pay for my study, or just go straight into uni and rack up 10s of thousands of dollars in debt, just to be paying it back a decade later. My mum says hell no, “you’re going to uni next year, or else you’ll lose the motivation to go at all!”. And although I partially agree, I just can’t see how the hell I’m going to get through uni with $140 student allowance and a student debt. I could work part time to pay my way, but to be very honest I think that would cause me to lose motivation for uni all together. And actually, I’ve written down and thought about numerous budgets on how I could pay for living expenses and such, $140 from student allowance, $100 from dad and $100 from mum a week, but quite frankly I don’t even know if that would be enough. I mean, if I wanted to stay in a hall of residence for my first year, it’d cost around $350 a week, so from that budget I wouldn’t even have enough to pay my rent. Plus, I can’t solely rely on my parents for an income, my mum is on the benefit and my dad is in and out of jobs. Decisions, decisions.
You know, the process of looking into student loans and how the hell I’m going to pay my way through uni without sleeping on the street and eating noodles every night, has really opened my eyes up to how stupid this system is. We make the people who are responsible for the future of our country and world (me), fork out thousands of dollars to get a degree, while we give other people hundreds of dollars in handouts every week, when they don’t even need them, and spend millions of dollars on WEED prohibition every year. Don’t even get me started on weed, because I’ve already come up with a plan to spend less money and make more! Isn’t it obvious, make weed legal and tax it! Hello! Millions of dollars in profit a year, I guarantee it. Maybe that could be the way to lower university fees, but who knows, this government has no idea.
I know what you’re probably thinking reading this right now, “that’s part of growing up, everyone else has to do it so deal with it”. Well no actually, I’m part of a generation that doesn’t take everything for its face value. I’m not trying to sound like a spoilt brat, but I pride myself on the fact that I question things, and I challenge ideas. I’m sick and tired of old people saying that my generation is full of lazy self-entitled brats, when really, they were the ones responsible for the collapse of our economy, the numerous wars, racism, sexism, the mass pollution of our planet and pretty much every problem we face today “sigh”. I really do believe that my generation is the one that’s going to really change the world, but guess what, it makes it a hell of a lot harder when tertiary education is so hard to access.
So I guess the purpose of this was to tell my experience as a year 13 student starting the process of thinking about university, and my future. And well, going into adulthood. The takeaway from this I think, is that life is hard and isn’t always fair, there are going to be bumps in the journey that we take, but in order to smooth that road for our kids, we have to endure and do what we do best, persevere! So with all the struggle associated with university, I’ll get through it, just like I always do. There’s nothing I can do at the moment to change the fact that my family and I are going to have to work our asses off to get me there, but I’ll get there in the end (hopefully).
Maybe I’ll look back at this in 5 years’ time, when I’ve finished my degree in whatever fiorld I choose, and think to myself, “well maybe I was just over-exaggerating, this wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be”. But I doubt it. May the odds (and the force) be ever in mine and my fellow year 13 students favour (hunger games reference).
P.s – Its 1am and I wrote this in an hour because my mind was flooded with thoughts of what the hell I was going to do with my future, so I thought I better put my thoughts into words and maybe it’ll be something I can look back on. Well this was the result.