A cash-strapped student has set himself an unusual challenge in a bid to save money for college – spending a semester in a tent.
NUI Galway student Frank Cronin recently returned to Ireland to complete his final year of a BA degree in Psychology and Spanish, but realised he would struggle to pay for rental accommodation during the college year.
He originally planned to spend a week camping out but is now aiming to spend a semester under the stars, having begun his adventure at the start of September.
Explaining his decision to camp rather than borrow money from his family, the 30-year-old from Templeogue in Dublin said he decided that he would prefer to live in a tent near the college campus and document his experiences on his popular YouTube channel Glowpunk, which features a series of “adventure comedy” videos complete with sardonic voiceovers.
“When somebody says that you can’t or shouldn’t do something, I will usually generally try and prove it wrong,” he said, adding that deciding to live in a tent during the college term “just seemed very logical” as he had recently been given a tent for his birthday.
Insisting that he sees his living arrangements as an adventure rather than a political statement on the funding available to self-employed people who return to education, Mr Cronin said the €100 per week he is saving by not paying rent is instead going towards books and food. He has also invested in a gym membership, which costs €5 per week and allows him access to shower and other facilities.
Acknowledging that foremost in his mind is whether his adventure will impact on his studies, he said not living with others could prove beneficial, as he has less distractions from his studies.
Even the weather has yet to discourage him. “It’s a little bit cold in the mornings about 7am but that’s a motivator to get up and go,” he said.
And, Mr Cronin said NUI Galway Students’ Union are “completely supportive” of his adventure. His exploits have also received a positive response online, with some of his lecturers even following the series on YouTube.
Mr Cronin believes that people are embracing the “imagination side” of his decision to live in a tent, although some have suggested he should live off the land à la TV star and adventurer Bear Grylls.
“All I’m trying to do is prove that you can live in a tent and get your degree and have a good time while doing it,” he says, adding that he does not want anyone to feel sorry for him.
“I really do think that people who are able to look after themselves should adapt, improvise and overcome…everyone should be adaptable to their own predicament,” he said.