After having not attended in our first year, and regretting that decision upon the influx of Instagram posts, my housemates and I were eager to celebrate the term’s end at the 2018 Summer Ball; that was until we logged in to buy our tickets and saw the price at £36.
It’s not just the Summer Ball that has proved costly. Campus favourite Big D, promising to bring underground acts and D&B to the often lacking York, has been priced at £26-28 per ticket. Moreover, a multitude of societies’ end of year dinners and awards ceremonies can cost their members even upwards of £50.
These ticket prices are a huge burden to those wanting to make the most of the end of term. The ‘FOMO’ (Fear of Missing Out) which many a student has been victim of, that comes with not attending such events isn’t solely based on feeling left out. We all deserve to celebrate having survived the horror that is exam-time and any other achievements of the academic year. It seems somewhat unjust that to do just this results in many excessively panicking and regretting the amount of money being spent, with some perhaps relying on their overdraft to cover the costs of the social events being held. This isn’t even beginning to consider club nights, as each YUSU/York Parties night out requires a £5 entrance while favourites such as Soul Candy and ON&ON are typically priced anywhere from £5-£8.
There is a constant pressure anyway at university to not only maintain a social life, but to constantly form new friendships and experience new things. Trying to strike the balance between socialising and progressing academically is arduous and the extortionate prices of such events do not necessarily act as a deterrent from attending, but simply intensify this pressure.
Quite frankly, I didn’t expec university to be so expensive. To most students in the UK, who are of the generation of ‘Blair’s Babies’, tuition fees are a simple fact of life. The £9000 a year that I pay, as unbelievable as it may sound, doesn’t really have much value because it never existed in my account to begin with. I suspect that many of my peers would agree. Being in 40 grand of debt by the time we’re 21 is an unfortunate position to be in, but one that we have been prepared to face since the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.
Given this debt, and the limit of how far a student loan can stretch, students are prepared to have to budget and yet, despite our best efforts, are still forking out hundreds of pounds to keep up with the social calendar. It is these costs which we have been ill-prepared for.
It is unrealistic to propose that organisers of events such as Big D or Soul Candy would sacrifice making a profit for the sake of their student market. Regardless, there is no guaranteeing that this would be an effective solution to the problem as while YUSU may be not-for-profit, their event prices are still the highest of the lot.
Students are now considered consumers. However, the night life and events available in York does not reflect this, and there is such little choice that a monopoly of high prices has been established. The fact of the matter is that if we don’t subscribe to this, we will have to accept potentially feeling left out and unable to fully enjoy the year’s end with our friends. The University ought to consider providing more support and advice to the overwhelming number of students struggling with this reality.