The way you perceive money changes a lot when you become a student. When growing up, my sister could always find some extra funds by putting on a sad face, sweetening her voice and approaching the nearest parent. Whenever I imitated this behaviour, I would come away with no money, less dignity and a serious discussion about my sexual orientation. Money certainly doesn’t grown on trees, but it’s a metaphor that could be feasible if our preferred method of picking was to have young, want-ful girls try to lull the fruits down.
Whether you had a means of accumulating money with minimal effort or not, when you become a student, regardless of how potent your parent’s wallets are, you find you don’t have any. With this comes a complete unashamed disregard for anything that adds cost to anything. Things like expiration dates, “tap water” as apposed to “water” or having a nice 45 minute walk, instead of a 10 min tube journey. I don’t usually crave stale croissants at 9:00 in the evening, but when it’s 10 pence a pop, do I really want to splurge on Tesco’s basic loaves?
As cheap and unhygienic as I’ve now made myself out to be, there are quite a few nice things a student can actually do for no money. This applies to London more than any other city because of the pure abundance of places to go.
The Applause store is a website that provides free tickets to television recordings. When BBC, ITV or Channel 4 wish to record a show in front of a live audience, it’s more important for them to have every seat filled than for them to make money on ticket sales. In this website you apply for tickets and, if you get them, have the chance to see popular shows like Never Mind the Buzzcocks or even Top Gear for absolutely nothing. I say “have the chance”, because they always overbook tickets, so if you don’t get to the studio early enough, you will be turned away.
Previously, I’ve only made it to the hilarious “Now Show”, a Radio 4 comedy that I suggest all of you subscribe to (after subscribing to EPOD, of course). but last week I managed to book free tickets to see KT Tunstall, an artist who I’ve been a colossal fan of for quite some time.
The format was an interview (filmed in glorious 3D), with her playing a few songs when the particular track became appropriate. While it was annoying that only a handful of songs were played, I much preferred this kind of show to anything else I’ve seen. It was an intimate meeting with her, so the audience really got to know the person behind the artist. A summary of the night: KT Tunstall is a remarkable woman. Her life involved going down to London from St Andrews, as a teenager to busk every weekend; slumming it in a dirty old van to do gigs round the UK; and sleeping behind friends sofas while recording her first album at the age of 28. All of this she did proudly with the unwavering belief that her passion would see her through. Without a doubt, I’m not giving her story its deserved zeal, but it was one of the most inspiring nights I’ve ever had.
What separates a good musician and a great musician is conviction, not talent. Only when you apply 100% of yourself, can great things come your way. Intelligence and obsession are important and will lead to success, it’s the reason I have no worries about the career prospects of every Imperial undergrad. Why not all of us end up being Zuckerberg’s and Jobs’ is that very few have the drive and the arrogance to fully commit to a project. In my view, a big factor in that is they both dropped out of college. For Jobs, arguably it was a sign that he had nothing else to fall back on, if he didn’t give Apple his all, he would be back to having nothing. For Zuckerberg, it was a sign that he knew how big Facebook would become and he no longer needed the distractions College provides.
I’m not encouraging everyone to drop out of Imperial (although a less crowded JCR would be nice). I believe: to have the ability to shed all, including your safety net and march forward with credence in your own idea and your own ability, leads to failure 95% of the time. However, it also permits, and is the only path to, that small 5% that makes you legendary.
Thanks for reading,