As sweeping generalisations go, students have it easy. We party too hard, drink too much, and stumble in to the real world with three years' worth of laundry for Mummy.
When it comes to following current affairs, students can tell you all about each of the PDAs on Made in Chelsea, but wait, what - newspapers still exist? Sure, we don’t get wake until noon, opting instead to stay up to see the sunrise and walk home to birdsong, before tucking into cultural fusion food, such as cold chips and curry sauce.
Okay, so that might be a little exaggerated but you only have to peek out the window in Leeds on a Wednesday night to have said point well and truly certified. Blame the freshers. In a world fuelled by iPhones and Facebook and reruns of Come Dine With Me, it is easy to argue that we students have it easy. The digital generation, we read the i on our iPads and click snooze until noon. Except that is, for some of us. Say hello to the SBAs. (In full, that’s Student Brand Ambassadors, AKA, Independent junkies.)
Somewhat on a par with MI5 as I like to think, SBAs ain’t no late morning snoozers. Consider it a security service for a future of newspaper readers. There’re 18 students among us, promoting two publications and 365 days of papers, and we’re knee deep in… news. We’re less aware of PDAs and more on top of PDFs. We’re up for 9am promos and 9pm crosswords - and have the finger cuts to prove it.
Whilst the rest of the student world might be partying to the wee hours, caring more about snakebite than frostbite, we cherished SBAs are plotting under a cover of darkness how to secure our campus’ readership (or managing to seamlessly pull off both. Hats off to those who can handle it).
Having taken a year out on industry and peered in from the real world, I feel I’ve gained a superior position in the opinion stakes of the age-old ‘students have it soft’ debate. The real verdict? Grown-ups have it easy. Sure, you get up earlier, but ‘least you can afford to buy coffee, and whilst your 9-5s might drag, rest assured student-time ticks 1/8 as fast in the library. Plus, we’ve got library fines steep enough to outweigh your council tax.
When it comes to current affairs, I’d argue we take the biscuit there too. We might not all commit the reading the paper front-to-back daily like real grown-ups do, but we do thumb through, leave empty stands at the union, and flaunt our trivia skills at the weekly pub quiz.
Grown-ups and students (and those who haven’t quite decided), whether you’re reading The Independent or the i, at nine in the morning or nine at night, the main thing is, you’re reading it, you’re learning a thing or two - and you’re one step closer to winning big on the pub quiz. (Just think, you could all quit your jobs and hit snooze until noon.) Students, if you plan your time right, you might even have chance to squeeze in the crossword before you start on your pre-lash.
Alice Tate is a student brand ambassador for i. She blogs about fashion here.