Lucia enjoys spending time with her family, and over summer that’s no different as she stays near her home in Leeds. While topping up her loan payment with income from a part-time job, find out what Lucia gets up to for fun over the summer holidays.
Lucia’s story transcribed
What is your current living situation during term-time?
So I’m originally from Leeds, and all my family and friends are based in Leeds. So currently I live with my boyfriend at the minute – like we’ve got our own place. And so I commute to and from university. Well I did, obviously, when classes were on campus. I just live just a little bit outside of uni, about a 10 minute bus ride.
What sorts of plans do you usually make for the summer months?
So I’m a bit boring. I love spending time with my family at home, because my sister comes back from university – we’re twins – so it’s lovely to see her as well. And so we’ll find a couple of days out – we love doing escape rooms, we absolutely love going and doing them.
And I’ll plan a couple of days out and go to Knaresborough, nothing major, like no big holidays. Especially with the COVID situation, I don’t really want to plan any holidays at the minute. So I had a couple of trips to the theatre booked, but obviously, they’ve been pushed back.
Usually, in my summer, I sort of plan to try and find some work. It is really difficult when your student loan ends, and it’s just like, oh, you’ve got like four months. So you’ve got to sort of finance yourself. And especially because I’m constantly paying rent. I’ve got to keep finding money to pay my bills and things like that. So it’s different for me than maybe other uni students when they go back home. Maybe their parents pay for everything, and they don’t have to pay for rent and shopping. But that’s still a problem for me. So it kind of is more of a time to just try and get money and stay on top of things rather than, you know, enjoying the whole summer. I wish I could, but you know, I’ve got responsibilities and bills and shopping.
In light of COVID-19, how do you think your plans for summer 2021 might change?
So for this summer, because it’s my last year at university, obviously I wanted to do a year in industry. And it was going to be really difficult for me -I did get a placement, but it was sort of away from my hometown. I’ve got care responsibilities for my mum. And I just really couldn’t do with being away for a whole year, especially because of COVID, then that happened. And then everything was pretty much cancelled.
You can’t travel or anything, I didn’t really feel like being on my own in a different city. And so I was looking at doing a summer placement. I did one last summer, when COVID was happening, I did an internship and that was from home. And I found that really interesting.
I think it’s going to be difficult to find a job – I definitely need one because I’m not going back to university in September. So it’s going to be a case of trying to find a graduate job, or trying to find just a job, so I can afford, you know, life. So I do think it’s going to be difficult in terms of plans. You can’t really plan ahead, I guess, because you never know, from week to week what is going to happen. So it’s going to be really difficult, I think for everybody, especially to keep yourself busy. I know we’re still at home during University, but at least you’ve got University work to do. But when that finishes, it’s like, what do I do now?
What sorts of things do you usually look forward to buying when summer rolls around?
Absolutely anything and everything. I try and justify them as a post-exam treat type thing, but I absolutely love buying makeup – that is my number one thing. Skincare, makeup clothes. And I’ve buying some more jewellery at the minute, and some shoes. Not that I’ve got anywhere to wear any of those things to. But it’s just nice, where you’re at home, even just to get dressed and feel like you’re a little bit more human. It sort of feels like at the minute so yeah, and mainly makeup, clothes, stuff like that. So yeah, skincare, all that good stuff.
My method of budgeting is: I’ve got direct debits, in terms of like, where my rent comes out, and TV licence and everything like that. For my shopping, I guess I limit myself to about 30 pounds a week, but I do tend to try and ignore my internet banking app. As much as possible, I try and avoid it, because I know for a fact that being a student is difficult. So I know for a fact I’m probably going to be in my minuses. So I just don’t like seeing it really. So I just usually tend to avoid looking at it, which is probably not the best thing to do.
Throughout the year, do you normally keep track of your budget and finances? What sort of methods do you use?
Yeah, I’ve got a maintenance loan and a student loan – I think I’ve got the top bracket for it because of my parents’ situation and everything. But I do find it really difficult to budget. Because obviously the first one, it drops in October. And that’s when my course starts. But you’ve got the whole of September before that, where you’re getting things to prepare yourself for university like if you don’t have the loan to buy books and things like that, it is really difficult because of the times when it does drop.
And so I do find that the time that it drops is really difficult to budget around. And so I find myself spending a little bit more, you know, before that, and then it drops and then my spending sort of decreases because obviously, I’ve got everything I need, but I do find it difficult the time it drops. But other than that, when I’ve got it in my account, my student loan, I find it sort of relatively easy to budget, like I know what I do have, I probably shouldn’t spend but you know.