Lily is shocked at just how fast her first year at York University has gone. Now, as she embarks on life as a second year Politics, Philosophy and Economic student, it's time to buckle down - but that doesn't mean she'll be having any less fun!
Lily is starting to feel the effects of student life on her purse as things begin to get a little harder in the money department and she resorts to walking around London in men's pyjamas.
I am aware that I'm very privileged. If you stuck me in a Third World country I'm, in fact, living a life of excess. I am well-fed and have far too many shoes, but "Oh my God," I feel so poor right now.
Usually I have the luck of returning to Waitrose, where I worked during the sixth form. Every holiday I don my snazzy hat and perfect my hand-carve skills behind the delicatessen counter. But this holiday they only needed two temps back and lo and behold, my letter was late and my term finished even later. By the time I arrived home, two other students were already happily in my place. So poverty, boredom and excessive napping quickly followed.
Where are all the fun jobs?
Looking for student employment is apparently the easiest thing in the world. According to numerous websites there's: 'Fun jobs for you!', 'Easy summer work!', 'Make money and have super fun!' I wish. The only thing faintly fun or easy about looking for last-minute summer work is laughing bitterly at the lack of vacancies and abysmal pay. Being under 21, I don't even qualify for the full minimum wage and unfortunately many employers like to abuse the student market.
As I joined the reams of students who were jobless at the beginning of the holidays I was met with the same replies over and over again. "Sorry we've done our recruitment already," or "We can't afford to take on extra staff this summer," or even my personal favourite: "But you don't have any retail experience". No, I just have four years of supervising, training, auditing, stock counts and customer service experience. Not that that counts for anything!
Desperation leads quickly to lies. Well, white lies I'd prefer to say. Last weekend I walked into a dancewear shop in Kingston holding a CV so bookish it would make a librarian feel cool.
"Hi, are you recruiting?" I asked.
"Yes we're looking for a weekend manager," said a tall, athletic, dancewear-clad young woman.
"OK... well I have supervisor experience," I replied, feeling short, fat and frumpy.
"Yesterday I spent three hours walking around pretending to fall asleep whilst wearing men's stripy pyjamas, all in aid of promoting anti-snore devices."
"Is that managerial?"
"Managerial in training... " Lie number one.
"Fantastic! Do you do any sport?"
"Yes," Lie number two. "I dance." Lie number three. I did dance, but I was five, and we mainly bunny hopped in tutus.
"Perfect! We'll call you and arrange an interview!" Upon reading my CV they must have thought I was mad. They never called, which is a shame really; I was excellent at bunny hops and I'm sure I'd have looked great in legwarmers.
Totally and utterly broke
Financially things are pretty close to breaking point. Thankfully a contact from when I worked as an elf at Christmas has set me up with a couple of other promotional jobs, some more straightforward than others. Last week I spent a couple of dull, but well-paid, afternoons leafleting in a slightly unsavoury area of London. Yesterday I spent three hours walking around pretending to fall asleep whilst wearing men's stripy pyjamas, all in aid of promoting anti-snore devices. Unfortunately payday isn't until the middle of the month, so I'm sadly watching my last £40 trickle away on lime and sodas (that's 33 of your English pence at my local), while my friends get battered. I hear this is actually character building, not soul-destroying, as some might have you believe.
Don't worry though, I'm getting by. So far with my free time I've alphabetised all my CDs, made a lot of lists about how I will begin revising, and watched an entire series of Sex and the City. According to my to-do list I still have to read a Booker prize winning piece of literature, as well as write a Booker prize winning piece of literature and learn Chinese. I've got two months to go and I have high hopes of succeeding.