The photo above was taken on a foggy but yet sunny morning on the way to class the other week. I have since signed a contract for a new house for third year and been down with the flu for six days. & I’ve had a lot of thinking.
There are many things I hate about living here. Yes, I do love it here and I wouldn’t move back to Stockholm now. But there are many things I didn’t expect to hate so much here.
I hate the cold. & I’m not talking about the outside cold, because that I’m used to, but to live in a cold house. To only have the heating on for a bit in the morning and a bit in the evening. I hate that there’s barely any insulation in British houses. I hate that they think they’re warm a country when they’re not. That heating is so expensive that everyone, not just students, can only afford to have it on for a few hours. That people get sick because they can’t afford to have heating. That they then complain that the NHS waiting times are too long because there are too many sick people. That I sit in my room underneath my duvet for most of my days I’m not at uni because it’s too cold outside the duvet.
I hate being fucked over economically just because I’m a student. To always having to pay fees that are straight up illegal in Sweden when you sign for a new house. That me, almost 21 years old, is being treated as if I was 16. That there is no trust between estate agents and young people that the option is to either 1. pay 6 months of rent in advance, or 2. have a guarantor, which essentially means that you’re not even the one legally responsible for the contract. They don’t even trust us enough to sign to rent a house ourselves. To be fucked over and over again just because my label is “student”. Because there is no trust.
I hate living in worse conditions just because I’m a student. Ever since the first house hunt back in November 2015 started, I got told not to expect much because I’m a student. That there is a difference between accommodation for students and regular people. Never in my life, have I heard anything like that in Sweden. Never have my friends being told that they just have to live in a bit of a shit hole just because they happen to be a student. Instead, I currently live in a house with cracks in the walls that have been badly painted over, a hole under the kitchen counters, a dishwasher that hasn’t been in use since September because it’s so bad that we had to re-wash everything. To have mould in the bathroom. To be constantly told that it’s just a thing you live with as a student, and still having to pay full rent.
I hate that people just accept things. All of the above. No one wants to fuss over these kinda things. They just accept them as part of their lives. Accept freezing in your house, being fucked over because you’re a student, having a lesser life just because you’re a student. No one says ‘no this is wrong’, they just accept it. Because that’s what us students are supposed to do – suck it up, accept it and live with it.
I love my life here, my degree and my friends. My little campus. But some days, all I want to do is to go back to Stockholm and live out my days there. I want to be taken seriously, to live in a proper accommodation without having to pay hundreds and hundreds of extra pounds, and to know all of my rights and how to sort it out. To just make a fuss about all the things that are bad, to not feel that heating or holes in the wall are a luxury. To just have a comfortable life for a bit, because as long as I’m a student in Britain, I’ll always be royally fucked over.