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Social mobility – tackling the class diversity

Social mobility – tackling the class diversity

Being a student is a process of development, a time for meeting new people, a place for discovering new passions and an opportunity to have the fun of your life. But all of these can be instantly shadowed by some barriers encountered by the students from a lower-socio-economic background. Coming to the university is a big step in our lives and also a decision that will impact our careers, thus students want to make the most of their time. But how can they succeed in their plans if the class diversity is still very present within university?

The financial barrier in a pupil’s studies is something that students have always experienced. Even though there has been some improvements in this field, for instance the Student Loan, still so many issues need to be tackled. It is expected that the dream of coming to the most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom to be an expensive one, but what about the students with so much potential that are stopped in the middle of their way to reach their dreams? One step is done by taking a student loan, but even the accomodation and everyday expenses are sometimes above some students’ budget. Let alone this, if you are not a EU student, you have to also pay the tuition fees. With the financial sacrifice that parents have to make, it is not surprising that they have some expectations of their child, therefore an amount of pressure is being put on the student. They are usually likely to have low marks or even drop-out of university because of their financial or social issues. All of these struggles that the students are experiencing in order to go to university are making their experience to seem not as enjoyable as those who do not have to worry about these problems, hence a sense of inequality is created.

An important aspect that needs to be analysed is that the working class students have not only a financial issue but they are also experiencing a social disparity, created by the difference in cultural capital, which favours the students from the high class. Speaking from a working class student perspective, being one myself, I can state that students from a lower-socio-economic background often find themselves inferior or intimidated by those from higher-socio-economic backgrounds. This happens perhaps because they find it harder to establish a friendship with them or they just do not feel comfortable in doing so. Here some factors can contribute to that: the places where students choose to spend their spare time, some more expensive than others, or the things they own like a phone or a laptop. Even though this disparity is made unintentionally, we are creating it uncounsciously by our everyday choices, who we choose to share a coffee with or what place do we choose for doing that. Starting from these small things that we do, our community is divided and students are categorized under some labels that describe who they are, which in reality, someone’s values should be apreciated over their background.

In contrast, I can say that our society developed a lot in this direction, a lot has already been done in university in order to promote a sense of community. Since I started my journey, I managed to meet very nice people from a higher-socio-economic background that have such great stories and ideas that we shared amongst ourselves, also made incredible friends that broke the barriers of this social division. But much more needs to be done in order to tackle this mentality, to introduce a new social system that promotes class relations and to create an environment which allows you to feel as part of a community.

Iulia Spatar

Studying Fine Art at Manchester School of Art.

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