Blogmas Day 19: I Can’t Afford to Become A Dietitian

December 20, 2018

Everyone knows how open I am about my Mental Health, so why stop because it’s Blogmas? My blog is a place for me to share my journey in the hope that it can not only help myself, but I can help others too.

My mental health currently is a little weird. It’s good! I haven’t felt sad or down and things are going great: good people around me, passed everything at uni, nearly home for Christmas. The adult reality? It’s fucking terrible. And I can only see it getting worse, meaning I can literally see my mental health taking a great big whack and I don’t know how to stop it!

As you may know, I’m struggling severely with my finances. This isn’t just the normal student “fuck me spent my loan on vodka shots again last night type of poor” – this is the “I don’t go out and I work so much yet I’m cold, hungry and I’m probably gonna be homeless soon” poor. The serious shit. I know finances should be personal, but I like to share my financial problems as not a student, but an NHS student, as I know I’m not the only person at breaking point.

NHS students work full time on many many placements FOR FREE. 40 hours a week…. for free. We don’t get student loans and only a very very small NHS bursary (which barely covers half my rent). We’re not allowed to work due to the emotional and physical workload of placement. We’re supposed to have rich parents or some financial support back up or to have worked and saved. I work all the time, but in minimum wage jobs. I live far away from home. My parents help me as much as they can, but they’re not rich. I have bills coming out my ears, a car to pay for (which I need for placement may I add) and trying to keep myself healthy and full and warm. I can’t afford to even drop my hours at work as it is, let alone drop them again or even quit. I just genuinely don’t know how I’m going to live? I cancelled all my direct debits (gym, insurance, music) and I’m down to the very minimum. My meals out are all paid for by others, because they all have full time jobs now and they feel sorry for me because I can barely afford milk.

Our flat has problems. We have an electricity problem making our bills sky high – I can’t afford them, but we’re sitting with no heating, no hot water, using everything to the very minimum. But our bill is going up and up and up and I don’t know what to do. Im using less but paying more. I can’t afford an extra £100 a month when my salary is going to half. Im going to have to deal with the emotions of placement and somehow trying to afford my life. I’m genuinely not going to be able to pay my rent alone before any bills. And it’s not just a month and it’s over. I’ve got to go until July like this – to me, it feels like I’ve got to the final hurdle, but I’m not going to be able to finish because I’m not financially able enough. No repeating, no chance to do it again because I’m the last year of the old syllabus. Nothing. I just don’t know what to do.

If anyone has any financial advice regarding placement (except working before to save… well have a word with whoever’s fucked up my electricity supply regarding that thanks), please send them my way. I’ve cried so many times over this and I just want to know I’ll be able to qualify. I’ve done five years of study for this.

Please PLEASE sign this petition to get student nurses, doctors and AHPs a minimum wage whilst on placement. We’re training to save lives while not being able to support our own.

Emma x

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