University: the stressed days of your life

It's not easy being a student. Well, that's what Göteborgs-Posten warned readers on Tuesday. The basis for their concern was a recent report out by the National Institute for Working Life. Apparently feelings of tiredness, uncertainty and angst have increased sharply in Sweden since the mid 1980s. Among the worst hit are students.

To check out the reason for all the long faces, GP got itself down to the canteen at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Gothenburg University what was going on. But most of the students didn’t have time to talk, no doubt needing to scoff down their lunch before hurrying off to a lecture.

But the paper did manage to find two students willing offload their woes. Sanna Svensson and Britta Grönqvist moaned about the usual – but nonetheless very real – pressures of exams, assignments and living on a limited income.

“Students have to think about the future the whole time,” said Sanna. “Those of us who are reading free-standing courses have to start again every term. And the assignments and exams can keep you awake all night.”

And it’s not just getting through the course that keeps students awake at night.

“You wonder what you’re going to do for a career – unemployment among graduates is high,” she added.

As GP pointed out, students in Gothenburg – like their counterparts in Stockholm – also have to contend with the added pressure of finding accommodation. It’s not unusual for many students to move twice a year because of the shortage of student flats.

Money seems to be the biggest problem, though. The paper explained that balancing a full-time study load and covering the rent on a student loan alone can be tough: many students have to work part-time to make ends meet.

Striking a similar note, Monday’s Metro in Stockholm reported how students, according to a study by Föreningssparbanken, have not benefited like other groups in society from the improving Swedish economy.

Economist Erika Pahne claimed that after paying for essentials like housing and travel, today’s single student has 40% less money left over than he or she would have had in 1989. In contrast, a single person employed in full-time work has 63% more money (2330 SEK) a month compared to 15 years ago.

The study showed that the average monthly cost incurred by a student is now 7480 SEK; however, students are only entitled to 6900 SEK a month for ten months each year from the student loan company CSN. As Metro pointed out, it’s no wonder students are increasingly struggling to make ends meet.

Sources: Göteborgs-Posten, Metro