Interview with Nicole Correia

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Nicole Correia

Name: Nicole Correia
Age: 19
Home town: London
Uni: University of Reading
Degree: English Literature and French
How are you financing your studies?
I am lucky. My parents are currently helping with my accommodation fees and I am managing my loan for my living needs. I am also working, in order to help and not be reliant on loans and parents.
Do you have enough money as a student to do everything you want to do?
I know I am fortunate, but you'll always want more. I get by happily and if I need something more, I work extra hours to get it.
Could you give a brief breakdown of your weekly budget. How much you’re spending on:

  • Accommodation
    My accommodation on campus is lovely, but pricey. I'd rather not disclose exact amounts but I am looking into living in a house next year off campus, or commuting, in order to save money.
  • Food
    I spend about £25 a week on food. I get home delivery because it works out cheaper than getting a return ticket and not being able to hold much all at once on a journey home. I buy meat and fish when they are on offer and freeze it until I need it. I don't buy food that I know I won't eat in time before it goes out of date. I think you just have to be sensible; there are only so many Muller Corner yoghurts you can eat in a week.
  • Going out
    I enjoy going out and it is cheap to go out but on these nights I try to spend as little as I can. Booze is cheap but I'm not a massive drinker so I can enjoy one or two and be fine. Under a tenner on drinks is usually the case. Cabs are £6 so with 5 people in a cab it's just a few coins to get home safely and warm!
  • Other (eg. Bills)
    I owe mum for my phone bill. Right now I'd rather not talk about it!

What have you learnt about student finances/funding/money etc that you wished someone had told you before starting at uni?
I don’t think there's much people can tell you because we all eat different foods and want different things from a night out. It's a learning curve, but a better learning curve if you work part-time and understand the value of money. I would say you are less likely to say 'put it on my student loan'.
What student discounts have you found handy as a student?
You cannot go wrong with an NUS card. Discounts are everywhere-online, restaurants, bars, shops and even club entry. It's my little green card to a good mood.
Do you have a part time job?
Before starting university I worked at Starbucks. I planned to get a transfer but I didn't get the time in first-term. I applied for a 5 week contracted job on campus, which suited me great. I met lots of new people and earned a lovely £7 an hour. I worked 11 hours a week, which was tough to manage but a great experience.  

Do you depend on your part-time job financially or is it just extra spending money?
It's savings. I save my wage for things I need when I'm back home. Presents for friends at home, going out in London etc. I am also saving for a holiday and I want to have earned that holiday rather than abusing the student loan, which'll bite me on the bum eventually.

Would would be your number one piece of advice you would give to prospective students considering going to uni?
Listen to advice and read up but at the end of the day everyone's experience is different. You'll see some truths in some people's experiences, but some will differ so greatly to yours. It's a learning curve before you get into your lectures so make sure you know who to talk to if you need any help. For example personal tutors, current students, graduates, UCAS and student finance. Enjoy and good luck!

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