Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Let's Talk About...Feminism: Confessions of a Bad Feminist

To define a ‘bad feminist,’ I guess we’d have to know the definition of a good one- but I’m not entirely sure what that is.

I’ve never questioned what kind of feminist I am; I just know that I am one, whatever that entailed. That was until, when procrastinating mid-way through an essay that was never going to happen; I came across a Ted Talk by writer Roxane Gay, talking about what it meant to be a ‘bad feminist.’

Dubbing herself a ‘bad feminist,’ she was making a joke, acknowledging that she couldn’t possibly live up to the demands for perfection of the feminist movement.

"I am a bad feminist. I am a good woman-" Roxane Gay. Photograph: TedTalks 

This was a refreshing take on a much resuscitated topic. From all the feminist speeches I’ve watched, forced to by my all too liberal English teacher or otherwise, I’m pretty sure I could cram ‘feminism’ into a vagina shaped nutshell, because feminism is provocative like that. It hasn’t always sat well with me how seriously feminism can be taken. The only time you can laugh as a feminist is at men, and occasionally, at other women, as if to reaffirm one’s feminist status.

Gay was a breath of fresh air into a room that had been hot and stuffy for way too long. She gave zero fucks about confessing her love for rap music, despite the often less than poetic lyrics, and her hatred of what she called ‘man’s work,’ including ‘bug killing, trash removal, lawn centre, and vehicle maintenance.’ ‘I want no part of that,’ she declared proudly. Had I not been in a public library at the time, I would have jumped out of my seat with a sassy ‘YOU GO GIRL!’

Her confessions about being a ‘bad feminist,’ made me confident enough to share a little something-something about myself. So, last call, does anyone have anything they’d like to confess? Because I do:

Feminism will not stop me loving Hip Hop, despite the eye rolls from my friends accompanied with ‘how can you listen to this trash?’ I will be singing ‘baby girl you’re so damn fine though, I’d like to know if I can hit it from behind though’ * ALL DAY.

Feminism will not stop me from wearing my tightest skirt and cutest bralet on a night out, or liking compliments from men and women when I do.

Feminism will not stop me from kissing, sexting, sleeping with, canoodle-doodling with whoever I please, without the fear of being labelled a ‘slut’ by women who preach about their female solidarity and ‘squad goals.’

But, feminism will stop me from judging other women for their life choices; it will stop me from writing for publications which, although would further my career, continually degrade women, and it will stop me valuing myself according to how I am viewed by men.

And if that makes me a bad feminist, I couldn’t be prouder.

*Alas, not my own lyrical genius, but taken from Fetty Wap's '679,' for the lesser gangsters among us.

Watch Roxane Gay's TedTalk here

A final word...
This is part of a new series where I talk about stuff that no one likes to talk about, so I will. The first topic is feminism, and next week I'll be investigating the problems with modern day feminism. Hopefully I'll think of a catchier name by then, but in that unlikely event, I hope you stay tuned anyway. 

Love Georgia 


Thursday, 19 November 2015

How It Feels to Always Fall for the Bad Guy

You know the type. If you don’t, you either are one, or you’re hopelessly in love with one and are just on a downward spiral of denial.

I’m not one to put people in boxes, but the guys I’m referring to practically stick themselves in their own box, complete with a bow that they’ll tell you they got from Clinton’s, but was actually the first thing they picked up in poundland.

This is not a guy hating rampage; there are good guys out there, I just avoid them because it’s not what I’m attracted to. I’m a sucker for the guy that I know is going to break my heart, but I do it anyway because of the sick rush I get from chasing something that’s ultimately unattainable. Some people go on roller coasters or rob banks to get their kicks, I chase the bad guys. And not in the superman save-the-world-and-get-the-girl kind of way.

These guys have no one ‘look’ or ‘type.’ It is a common misconception that these guys come in the shape of ‘lads,’ who typically wear super-skinny-I-can-see-your-crotch jeans and bang on about cheeky Nandos and you know, banging. Alas, jeans and your choice of restaurant chain does not entirely determine your personality (although if you favour Nandos over Wagamamas, get out.) Even the guy who is an environmentalist vegan and reads you poetry could be a serial heartbreaker.

In an effort to remain gender neutral, I should also mention that the same goes for girls; the bad egg could be anyone. If you want to know what a “good girl” looks like, ask Drake, he seems to know a lot.

Anyway, I’m a girl who has only ever been with guys; of the bad kind. And if you’ve ever wanted to know if it’s all it’s cracked up to be, or want to relive the painful experience(s) again, this is how it feels.

At first, it’s exhilarating. The guy that is at the top of everyone’s secret wish list is interested in you. You. The girl that talks to her cat in her spare time and takes “Netflix and chill” literally. In the *old days,* he would have asked for your number at the school disco, but in the age where romance appears to be dead (R.I.P the 00’s,) he will register his interest in you by strategically liking your Instagram photos. What you subconsciously know but deny is that he probably likes other girl’s instagram photos because you know, a guy’s got to keep his options open.
"It's like winning the lottery and then realising that everything you thought you wanted doesn't actually buy you happiness."

If he’s an idiot, chances are he has a well-known reputation. If he’s clever enough to cover it up, it will be a delightful surprise later down the line. By this point, your best friend, your mother, even the postman will be telling you to stay away- and this will probably be the best advice you’ve ever been given, but never took. You convince yourself that this time will be different; that he’s not as bad as everyone says; and however cliché it sounds, you try but fail to “change him.”

You keep going along with it because it’s exciting, and you tell yourself that no other guy will like you again if you let him go. It’s like winning the lottery and then realising that everything you thought you wanted doesn’t actually buy you happiness. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s really bad. You become insecure and try your hardest not to piss him off, but arguments are inevitable. You feel you can relate to pretty much every Taylor Swift song by now, and before long you go all Blank Space psycho-bitch crazy over the girl in his snapchat story (who he tells you is his second cousin twice removed.)

You’ll hang on for dear life, for as long as possible. If you’re lucky, things will run their course and fizzle out. If you’re not so lucky (which, let’s face it, if you’ve made it this far, misfortune catches up to you like the plague), things will end with a bang when you prayed for a whimper. He’ll cheat, you’ll end it out of psychological torment, or pray to God, you’ll find someone better.

It’ll hurt like hell. You’ll want to get fat, watch Netflix and hide out in your bed until the end of days. You’ll think of calling him (or sending him a strategic totally accidental snapchat,) but think better of it; until you finish a bottle of wine, that is.

Everyone is thinking I told you so, but no one will say that to your face out of fear you might overdose on malteasers and pringles.

But one day you’ll find clarity. One day, you’ll wake up and realise how beautiful the day that awaits you is. You’ll appreciate your family and friends and realise that you have been loved all this time. You’ll realise how much time you wasted on someone who didn’t love you. Not the way you wanted. You’ll realise how great it is to be single because you can get fat and not shave and no one will care.

Everything will turn out okay, and you’ll come to realise that you’re happier on your own than you ever were with them…until the next one comes along. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Reading Between the Likes

I reedited my Instagram posts with honest captions; but it didn't make me feel any better. 

The world went into hysteria and started to question everything this week when Instagram star, Essena O’Neill (nope, no idea either) decided to quit social media.

I’m not going to narrate the entire 17 minute video she posted explaining why she did it, but the general gist was because “none of it is real.” Groundbreaking stuff.

She started to edit her carefully constructed Instagram pictures with honest captions. One of her lying on a sunbed (as we all do of a Thursday morning) reads: …”Stomach sucked in, strategic pose, pushed up boobs.”

In the mood to try an experiment, but also because it was far more enticing than the degree I’m paying £9,000 a year for, I edited the captions of some of my Instagram posts, explaining what was really going on there.

Here are some of the results, but if you want to see more, you’ll have to follow me on Instagram (SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION)
"Pretty in Pink, whitewashing my instagram pictures."

"I took longer trying to take this picture than I spent at the entire Holi festival." 

I posted this picture because my legs looked skinny from this angle." 

It was liberating…for all of five minutes. After the eight caption edit, I’d already felt I’d revealed too much about myself to a world I didn’t even really know.

And I guess that’s the point of social media. It’s not real. It’s an imaginary place where we can display our best selves. In a counter culture society that’s always complaining that we give too much of ourselves on social media, I don’t think this could be further from the truth; we’re actually holding back; and the pictures and tweets etc. that we post on social media are never entirely public and unexposed, because there’s no way of knowing the thoughts, motivations and emotions of the individual doing the posting.

Perhaps social media is more private than we think, after all. 

Seriously though, hit me up on Instagram: @georgiaecha

Monday, 26 October 2015

Letters to My Ex

Before you're tempted to read the title in its literal sense, don't. This isn't my diary and I'm not pretty or talented enough to go all Taylor Swift.

I'm talking about writing; yes, putting an actual pen to actual paper, and writing letters. That you're probably never going to send.

The idea came to me, as most people's do, after watching Adele's music video for new single Hello. Although I credit Adele (with a special shout out to TayTay) for providing the soundtrack to my teenage "heartbreaks," she does about as much for me as Boris Johnson in a cocktail dress.

Pushing that image out of our minds, the lyrics inspired me to do something I haven't done in a while; two things actually. 1. Write and 2. Tell the truth.

I started writing letters to people, telling them how I truly felt. Things I wanted to apologise for. Things I wish I had said but never did. Things they did or said that broke my heart. Things I couldn't thank them enough for.

I didn't expect it to be as therapeutic as it was, and before long I was writing dozens (okay, maybe 10, let's not pretend I know that many people,) so chances are, if I know you,  there's probably a letter with your name on it.

Of course, we'll never know what someone truly thinks about us, or vice versa. But try admitting what you really think to yourself first, and you might surprise yourself with the words you write down and the people you realise you didn't appreciate enough, and the people who weren't worth nearly as much time as you gave them.

And who knows, maybe one day, you'll post them all. And then change your name and flee the country.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Drinking Out Loud

Forever too drunk to function

It’s sad that in this day and age, we pour our hearts out to everyone who has a wifi connection, but can’t tell people how we really feel to their face.

I came to this realisation when my housemates and I had a few friends over recently. We’re students and therefore poor, so it was nothing too rowdy; pizza hut, lots of vodka and playing drunk Twister in our pyjamas, which I believe is what the kids call ‘standard.’

It got to that time of the night when most of us were too drunk to function, let alone manoeuvre a drinking game. So, in the want of nothing better to do, we had some lovely heart to hearts that I’ll pretend to forget out of embarrassment, but really remember every word of, and that’s the sad thing, because apparently we need to be comfortably inebriated to tell the truth.

It’s sad that I had to be drunk to hug it out with my girlfriends, to tell each other that we’re all beautiful in our own way, and could do so much better than that guy. It’s sad that I had to be drunk to lose all my inhibitions and dance around my kitchen like no one was watching (which my neighbours probably were, sorry.) It’s sad that I had to be drunk to finally tell the good-looking-but-bad-news-guy-whose-name-will-not-be-mentioned that he was treating me like shit, and that was not okay. It’s sad that I had to be drunk to thank my best friend for always being there for me, and to tell them that they’re one of the most important people in my small, made-up-of- 50%- vodka world. It's all pretty sad, but that doesn't mean I'm not glad I said the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

After that drunken weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, I’d like to remain optimistic. I’d love to say that we should start sharing our feelings and telling our loved ones how much they mean to us far more often than we do. I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles, but the logistics of that are impossible and also potentially messy, so I won’t.

So I write this as an ode to all the things I won’t say out loud sober, because everything I do say is brutally, scathingly, unashamedly honest. But until I can say it to your face, I guess I’ll just have to blame it on the alcohol. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

10 Things I Hate About Autumn

You know those blog posts that are listed "Things I Love About Fall," often with a picture of leaves or a pumpkin or something? This is not one of those posts, although there will be both leaves and pumpkins, so don't quit on me just yet.

1. When British people call it 'Fall.'

Say it with me 'AUTUMN,' not 'FALL.'

Okay, I'm a grammar Nazi, not going to lie. The Americans have given us many great things, such as the internet and the Kardashians, but their dialect is not one of them. You are not in a Disney Channel Original Movie, and it is not called Fall on this side of the pond. 'Fall' is what you do when you've had one too many sambuka shots and you stack it walking along the pavement. In this merry old land of Great Britain, we call it Autumn. Okay? Okay.

2. Pumpkin on everything, pumpkin on everythang

Is it nice? Is it really, Starbucks?

I'm all about healthy eating, but pumpkins are kind of the autumn equivalent of Brussels Sprouts, being that they only come out once year. If anyone saw you eating them any other time of the year, everyone would be in uproar. I like pumpkin, I'm a fan of pumpkin soup every now and again. But when we start to think it's acceptable to put it in lattes, you have to stand back and question the sanity of humanity. Would you drink a carrot latte? Or perhaps a cabbage latte? No you would not, so why is everyone obsessed with pumpkin lattes. Like with many of life's dilemmas such as the economic crisis or the rise of Donald Trump, I blame Starbucks entirely.

3. The price of jumpers


Maybe my middle class mindset just means I shop in all the wrong places, but you can end up paying anything upwards of £30 for a jumper (other knitted items are available.) Now yes, you in the back there with the Paul's Boutique bag may argue that Primark jumpers are like £12 or something, but all you have to do is wash it and it disintegrates. Also they're scratchy. If it doesn't feel like I'm cuddling a sheep, I'm not wearing it. I cannot believe that I'm being charged £35 just so I can not freeze to death. If anything, they should be free on the NHS or something. This is why I should be Prime Minister.

4. Halloween hotheads 
I couldn't give a shit about your Halloween costume. 

Halloween is the worst holiday of the year, fact. In fact, it's not even a holiday. Maybe if I actually got a day off, I'd be a lot more appreciative of it. But a select few love Halloween, and they tell everyone about it. I mean, you're 22 years old, do you actually love Halloween, or do you just say you do because that's the cool, oh-my-gosh-I'm-so-nerdy thing to do? It would be fine if they left the rest of us alone, but no, they exclude everyone else who doesn't start planning their Halloween costumes in January. As they say in Mean Girls, "Halloween is the one time of year where girls can dress like sluts, and no other girls can say anything about it." So if I want to wear cat ears from Asda and whiskers drawn on with eyeliner, I will okay.

5. When people say "Is it October already?" in total shock. 

Yes, October does tend to come directly after September. Next stupid question please.

6. Leaving work or school when it's dark

Bubble wrap mode engaged
It's five pm, FIVE PM and I'm fearing for my life when I leave the building.

7. The cold and flu epidemic begins 


I literally had all summer, all summer when I had nothing to do to get sick, and biology chooses now when I have seven hundred and twenty thousand essays due. To make it worse, people cough in lecture theatres one after the other like they've rehearsed some kind of coughing medley. Stop it, go home.

8. People reminding you how cold it is
Everyone just needs to calm the fuck down

I know this is Britain, and I know we love to talk about the weather to a borderline obsessive extent, but I can see it's raining. I know it's cold. Please don't then proceed to tell me how cold you are, because I actually couldn't give a flying monkey about your body temperature.

9. Not knowing when it's appropriate to turn the heating on 


As the saying goes, in the game of heating, you win or you die. Turn it on and there's a risk of it being hotter than the sun, leave it off and you could freeze to death- when they find you, you'll just be an icicle of your former self. If you're middle class enough to have a fireplace, this is also an option, but only in extreme circumstances, for example when you come in from skiing practice and Mummy makes you an M&S finest Pumpkin spice hot chocolate with extra pumpkin.

10. The fact that it's not socially acceptable to hibernate until summer 
Preach it, Grandma.
If I could, I would hide under my duvet with Netflix and a cup of tea until April, maybe even May. I really don't think that's much to ask. I might come out for Christmas, but only during presents and food.

Friday, 25 September 2015

20 Signs You're Getting Old Before Your Time

What's my age again? 

1. You worry about money 20 hours out of the day

2. You insist on wearing 'sensible shoes' when you go out

3. Large groups of teenagers terrify you *crosses road to avoid being stabbed*

4. You didn't know what 'Netflix and Chill' was until you looked it up last week on Google (and then wished to God you hadn't- MY EYES.)

5. You forget people's names even though you've spoken to them countless times before

6. You begin to think all the music ~the kids~ listen to sounds the same

7. You become concerned about your hearing so turn all the music down

8. So concerned in fact, that you say "pardon?" because you can never hear a word anyone is saying

9. You're almost certain you saw a grey hair the other day

10. You've had to put clothes back that look "too young" for you

11. You begin to detest everyone you were friends with when you were 14

12. The successful people you look up to are sometimes younger than you

13. As soon as you get into a club, you want to leave within half hour. Why is it so dark? Why is the music so loud? Why are there so many youths?

14. You can't handle your drink like you used to

15. The best part of a night out is returning to your bed ~my one true love~

16. You make excuses not to go out, and you really hit the jackpot if plans get cancelled

17. You're too old to do stupid, irresponsible things like stay out past midnight

18. But you're still too young not to

19. You begin to start sentences with: "when I was your age..."

20. But you've experienced enough to know that everything will turn out okay in the end

Monday, 14 September 2015

As Over Baes

It's a new school year, which means new start, new you, and fresh new stationary from Poundland. Because not all of us can afford Paperchase, okay? 

If you're blindly optimistic, or failing that, just plain stupid, you've probably already set yourself a goal for this year. Study harder, get involved in a sport (LOL,) make new friends, try to turn up to all your lectures instead of binge watching Game of Thrones. 

I wasn't sure what my goal was for this year; heck, I don't even know what my goal is for tomorrow apart from getting out of my bed in the morning. But scrolling through Twitter as I do 23 hours out of the day, I came across something that pretty much summed it up: 

Once you get over the brilliant word play going on here, you can actually reflect a little bit. How many times in your academic career have you put "As before Baes?" Don't lie, I know you're thinking about them when you should be studying electrolysis. 

If I could go back and give my teenage self some advice, it would be a. a full fringe is a terrible idea, and b. don't put boys before schoolwork. 

I didn't think I had, I mean, I was a pretty straight laced student who's idea of rebellion was refusing to draw margins on my pages. But thinking about it, the subjects I probably fell flat on my face in during my GCSEs were geography and IT. Not because I had poor geographical insight and even poorer technological knowledge, although yes, I'm not going to be a computer whizz anytime soon. They were the two subjects where a boy I liked was also in. Cue me staring at their face for an hour instead of looking at the whiteboard. 

I went from getting distinctions in my Year 9 geography to scraping through with a pass, all because I was on a mission to get the boy I sat next to in class to fall in love with me. Same goes for IT, but different guy, obviously. I failed one of my IT units because I spent entire lessons having "banter" with this guy and was convinced we pretended to hate each other because we were in denial about the fact we were really meant to be. They don't give GSCEs out for banter, Georgia. And this isn't a remake of 10 Things I Hate About You. 

Admittedly, I place part of the blame on Taylor Swift for putting such stupid 'Love Story' esque ideas into young people's heads. But I was just as at fault for thinking boys were the be all and end all. Newsflash, you're probably not going to walk down the aisle with that girl/guy you're sending "cheeky" snapchats to right now. 

Subconsciously, that's probably why I ended up moving to an all girls' school. Those two A Level years marked the first time I focused on myself, and what I really wanted out of life. 

I'm not saying don't get in a relationship, I mean, I wouldn't know but I hear they're pretty decent. I'm saying consider whether that girl or guy is worth missing out on a lesson for, or leaving that piece of homework to the last minute because you spent all night waiting for them to text back. Think about where you want to be in 10 years time, and then think about whether this girl/guy is going to help you get to that place. If the answer is no, keep your eyes off the arse and pay attention in class. 

I'm not advising that you go around all this academic year singing ~As Over Baes,~ although it would make a brilliant Beyonce song. If your goal for this year is going to be anything, make this the year you put yourself first. Yeah, it may sound selfish, but who cares? The one thing I've learnt in my 19 years of existence is that nothing, and nobody, lasts forever. Friends, boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, but you're the only person that has got to live with yourself for the rest of your life.   

That girl that you spent all chemistry lesson trying to impress but is still clearly not interested? Let her go, she's not worth another D on your exam paper. 

That guy that claims he only talks to you but clearly has "banter" with all the other girls? Guess what, he's probably going to get crap grades and you're going to end up going to Oxford or something, who knows? 

This year, DO YOU. Because you are brilliant, and you don't need someone on your arm to prove that. 

Georgia x 

Monday, 7 September 2015

How To #23: Sexting for Total Amateurs

Once the territory of long distance couples, pervasive grown men on questionable chat rooms and the odd sexually charged teenager; now everyone’s at it. Or not at it, as the case may be.

Of course, I’m talking about sexting, the concept of which is hilarious. Obviously a word invented by the producers of This Morning to diagnose Diana’s horror when she found indecent texts on her 14 year old's Motorola Razr.

I personally blame it all on snapchat, for making sending that surprise, unwanted dick pic just that little bit easier.

And there’s rules to this game too, if you can’t stand the heat, keep your goddamn clothes on. If you want to know how to go from beginner to sexpert, ask your therapist or something because I have no fucking clue.

Gone are the days when a winky face was enough to arouse someone, now we require photographic stimulation that self-destructs in 10 seconds. Yay technology.

So yeah, I’m like the furthest thing from being an expert at this as they come. But I do have a couple of questions.

Is sexting like a planned thing, or do things just escalate and you then feel obliged to go along with it? Because god forbid you ignore a snapchat. I highly doubt you ask someone if they want to sext, mostly because it will be highly embarrassing for you if they say no. I like to think it just happens, but I don’t know, you might not be into that. We’re all just as fucking pathetic as each other though if you think about it.

How is sexting different to phone sex? I feel like phone sex could turn out to be very awkward unless you are already in a steady relationship with that person. In this situation where anything could happen, no one wants an awkward silence. Whilst acceptable if you live thousands of miles apart from each other, calling your significant other whilst they are on lunch at work is highly inappropriate, and also super awkward with a mouthful of tuna. Sexting doesn’t have that emotional attachment, so you can basically use each other for that 10 minutes of self-gratification whilst giving zero fucks.

How do you know when the time is right? I mean, right now you’re hovering in the innuendo, mildly sexy zone, but you don’t want to cross over into the *CUE RED FLASHING LIGHTS* sext zone. You can’t just go from pulling stupid facial expressions to a close up of your hooha, you’ll give the poor girl/guy a heart attack, for Christ sake. I’d say unless they explicitly tell you to take your shirt off (which, if they do, why are you giving this piece of shit the time of day?), give cues that you would like to move into the sext zone, pretty please. Start with a sneak peak of a bra strap or your chest and work your way up (or indeed, down) from there I guess.

Okay, so you’ve sent your sext-nificant other a really sexy photo, it’s probably your best one yet. Victoria Secret would be dying to hire you right now. You wait in anticipation for a gratifying response, and you keep waiting, maybe listen to a couple of Taylor Swift songs to pass the time. You check your phone and still nothing. There’s only three possible things that could be going on here. 1. They’ve fallen asleep before receiving it, which is just rude, I mean; you should be engagement enough to keep anyone awake at night. 2. They’ve opened it, but they haven’t replied, which means you’ve stepped over the mark and made them extremely uncomfortable, which you know, you kind of have to question your sanity for now. Failing this, and leading me onto point no 3, they’ve opened it, haven’t replied, but you bet they’ve screenshotted it, and are showing all their friends as they speak. You should’ve left it at bra strap, my friend.

All in all, I feel like sexting is more trouble than it’s worth. I mean, if you were that desperate, you’d just go and have sex with them. But it’s fun, and gives you something to do of a Sunday night, I suppose. Just a few general common sense rules about sexting to follow; which, if you don’t live by already, you should not have access to the internet, you amateur.

·         If you’re going to send a full body nude, for the love of God, don’t show your face. Or you know, do, if you want to be as famous as Kim Kardashian one day.
·         If they screenshot you, send out a hitman to take their phone and their life. 
·         Not to sound like an advert from the 2008, but remember that once you send a picture, you can’t get it back. Unless you work for MI5, in which case, screw all the rules.

Apart from that, let your virtual sexual appetite run wild, and just feel lucky about the fact that some of us are still petrified by Tinder.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

How To #22: How to Save Money for University

As a second year university student who is financially hapless, you couldn’t have come to a better place for advice about university finances. Or worse place, depending on your outlook.
It may seem dull. It may seem insignificant because your “student loan will cover it all.” The reality is that unless you’re extremely lucky (or have very wealthy parents,) this won’t be the case. Not only does university come with a hefty price tag, so does the cost of actually living. Because you know, you have to actually keep yourself alive somewhat for the next three years.

I was terribly bad with money in my first year at university. I chose the most expensive accommodation on campus, which my student loan did not cover. I had to rely on my parents, my part time job and my £1,500 overdraft to survive; an overdraft I’m probably still going to be paying off way after I graduate, so at least that’s something to remember university by.
If my story doesn’t scare you into being sensible with money whilst at uni, nothing will. So sit back, relax, but don’t bother with the popcorn because you can’t afford it right now.

1. Don't bother budgeting during freshers' week 

Freshers' Week: Keeping the drinks (and the money) flowing. Photograph: The Student Channel 

Yeah, I know all the university guides say otherwise and yeah, I’m rebelling *throws TV out of the window.* Any university guide will tell you to budget during freshers’ week, but with everything that’s going on during this time, writing down your daily allowances is hardly realistic. Or fun.
Obviously, don’t go MC Hammer in every bar, but don’t beat yourself up about budgeting either. Have fun during freshers’ week, and start budgeting seriously after your eighth hangover.

2. Don't be too strict when you do budget 

Prevent major injury to your bank balance. Photograph: Redbrick. 
Budgeting is a “learn as you go along” process; you don’t know exactly how much you’ll be spending every week, so give your budget a few trial runs to see if you need to cut back or allow yourself extra leg room, so to speak.

3. Take cash on a night out 

Don't blow it all on snakebites and kebabs. Photograph: Daily Mail. 
I cannot stress this enough. If you’re anything like me, after the fifth jager bomb, all sense will disintegrate and you'll be  yelling “TAKE MY MONEY” to the bartender. The fallout comes when you wake up in the morning and have to face the sorry state of your bank balance.
Take cash out (£20 as a general guideline, depending on how expensive the bars are at your uni) before you head out and leave your card at home, to prevent you from overspending.

4. Save money (and trees), don't buy new books! 

Save money on books and have something to smile about. Photograph: Go Study UK.

Lecturers will urge you to buy the newest, brightest editions of the books you need, but used copies are just as good unless you are planning to sell yours after you’ve used it.
Used copies are sometimes half the price or less on the internet, and keep an eye out for needy second years trying to flog you their old textbooks on Facebook; take them up on their offer and negotiate a price. You’ll save yourself money in the long run, and will be just as clever. No guarantees, obviously.

5. Cook a Flatmily Meal 

Sharing is caring. Photograph: Birthday Magazine. 

After the microwave meal supply has run out, offer to cook for everyone. If all goes well, everyone will take turns to cook, saving lots of money (and time) cooking individual meals.
In the unlikely event that the communal meal plan plummets, cook a meal for yourself and freeze what’s left over so you have meals for later in the week.

6. Don't be afraid to ask for help 

The Bank of Mum and Dad, for when all else fails. Photograph: Daily Mail. 

Yes, university is the road to independence, and yes, you’ve convinced yourself that you’re a big boy/girl now; but no one is expecting you to deal with the financial strains of university on your own either.
Chances are, you’ll be needing the Royal Bank of Mum and Dad more than ever, so don’t be afraid to drop them a phone call if you need a little extra cash. Although don’t bang your fists on the table demanding money because they might disown you.
Asking Mum and Dad for money doesn’t come easily for many people, and to some it’s also not a reliable option. If you’re struggling, look out for financial schemes on offer at your university and ask your university's financial adviser if you’re having serious trouble. They’re not going to give you a free pass, but they are human beings; and will be able to advise you on the best options moving forward.

7. Look for a part time job sooner rather than later 

A part time job can calm your money worries. Photograph: bcu. 

I would personally advise not getting a job during your first year at university unless you really need one. Although I was lucky in that my hours were very flexible and close to university, if I had had a contracted job I feel like I would have missed out on a lot. The first year of university is all about settling in and establishing roots, which a job more often than not interferes with.
If you are planning to get a job during your first year, start looking sooner rather than later. The summer before university starts is the perfect time to start looking because the third years have graduated and moved back home, and the summer temps have gone back to uni come September, meaning there will be a fair amount of positions open.
Most universities also offer a lot of job opportunities around campus; usually bar work. You won’t be earning a six figure salary or anything, but the pay is usually decent and allows you to work your hours around your studies. Look out for job fairs around your campus.

8. Do not buy everything in advance

If you come back with more than two bags, you're doing it wrong. Photograph: The Guardian 

Shopping for uni supplies is a unique experience in itself- who knew one could get so excited over a set of kitchen knives? Although it’s tempting to raid Wilko of all their Home and Living supplies, RESIST THE URGE.
I know it’s tough, but we’ll get through it together. Buy the bare essentials at home and then restock when you get to uni. Otherwise, you’ll only end up buying things you don’t need. Hey you, put down that garlic crusher.

NETFLIX 4EVA. Photograph: Netflix Life.
A Netflix subscription is much cheaper, and always there for you on those cold and lonely nights. Also referred to as "Every Other Night."

10. Always ask for student discount 

Every little helps. Photograph: Study in Sweden. 
You can get up to 20% off in some outlets, and at McDonald’s you get a free cheeseburger or McFlurry when you buy a meal- there is a God after all! Some places will accept your student ID card, but others require an NUS card, which is £12 for the year.

You can thank me later when you're the only one of your uni friends not drowning in debt. Best of luck!

Georgia x