Laura

What is the best bit of your course?

Apart from the course content, which is really inspiring, I'd say location, location, location. Oxford is gorgeous and there are so many beautiful walks and places to visit nearby. I love getting out and about to reward myself when I've completed some work. It's the best place to live.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Unfortunately, Oxford is very expensive and it was hard justifying the cost of studying here to my parents, who live in Birmingham. It didn't take long to convince them Oxford was a lovely place. Now they love coming down in the holidays to visit me here.

How do you cope with money?

I get extra financial support because I have a disability. That goes toward the cost of some of the equipment and books I need. Otherwise, I try not to go out too much and tend to spend any free time I have watching films, catching up with friends or doing sport. I also shopped around to get the best price on gas, electricity and phone lines. Even if you're only in a house for a year, it's worthwhile finding the best deal.

Where do you live?

I live in a shared house in Oxford with two other undergraduates who I didn't know before I moved in. It's no palace but we've got a small garden and the neighbour's cat likes to visit. The three of us share the cooking and the cleaning and it seems to work.

Where will you be in ten years?

I would love to be an artist but I know it's very competitive and I won't be disappointed if I can't make a career of it. I will pably go into teaching.

What do you wish you had known when you started university?

Not to assume that lecturers will tell you everything. Of course they don't and it's up to you to do research and go the extra mile if you want to make the most out of your degree.

Top budgeting tip

I tend to make large meals then freeze the left-overs for another day or eat them for lunch. It's saved me loads of time and money.

Laura's Summary

Income
Tuition Fee loan £9000
Maintenance loan £5136
Maintenance grant £728
Bursaries & further support £1200
Savings £0
Termtime work £0
Holiday work £1280
Family and friends £2000
Total Income £19344
Expenditure
Fees £9000
Insurance £80
Accommodation £4100
Utilities £782.50
Transport £460
Shopping £820
Socialising £1466
Eating £1940
Study £500
Total Expenditure £19148.50
Balance £195.50