Abbie has told me that he is likely to take a gap year in order for him to go and work in one of his relative’s shops, because he’s not sure that he can afford going University this year. His plight is one of several I’ve heard. Even Ben is thinking about a gap year because of money, tuition and living expenses.
While Ben is lower middle class, and both his parents work, Abbie is from the council estates in this town. Both are feeling the pinch in a time when youth are the target for large cuts in benefits. Even Mark has uttered the unmentionable, the gap year, but I’ve furiously beat that down. Mark will go to university, even if I have to go full throttle on him and pay all his tuition fees for him. He can whine about that while going to school.
Mark is with me. We’re getting married. And even if I have to dig out every penny my mum and dad are willing to spare, including all my savings, Mark is going. This I am adamant about. But it makes me despair to see both Ben and Abbie think about putting their future on hold because of this damned government that target every cut on the poor, the young and the infirm.
People that put their future on hold tend to do so indefinitely. Or when they’re tired of living in a limbo of not fulfilling their ambitions, they find that too much time have passed, and they can’t get back into things, into the flow, and they’re stuck.
The government cuts in education for the young makes it so that they can’t get decent employment, and then they cut down the systems to help those that become unemployed. The increase in tuition fees put a lot of people outside the path to university, and there are no simpler jobs that does not require a university degree any longer. Hell, even a job at a fast food restaurant almost require a degree these days because of the weight of applicants to such jobs.
Mum once asked me if I planned to stay in the UK after graduation, and I thought that I would. But I can write anywhere, and it seems like what is more important is that Mark can get a job in science. These days, reading the news and seeing what is happening among my friends, I’m not so sure any longer.
This doesn’t appear to be a country for the young, does it? Not anymore. And increasingly not so. I’m incredibly fortunate that I don’t have to deal with all that stress but it makes me furious to see how many of my friends and peers do have to deal with it.