A student at NUI Galway is currently living in a tent in a secret location off campus to save money and finish his degree.
Thirty-year-old Dubliner, Frank Cronin, is living out his final year of a Psychology and Spanish degree by studying and sleeping in a tent. Speaking to The College View, Frank explained how he is short on cash and doesn’t qualify for a grant because he is self-employed and has been living in Mexico for a while.
“I could have borrowed money from family or a bank but I just thought I would deal with this issue myself in my way”, Frank said. Frank is documenting his experience in an online video blog called ‘Glowpunk’.
Frank went on to say how the first month was very tough. “I was adapting. Now it feels weird sleeping in a house”, he said.
Frank sleeps wrapped in a duvet and a sleeping bag that he calls his ‘nest’. He’s been sponsored by Portwest clothing company and says that he’s “completely protected from the elements. That said, I might run home crying to mammy when it gets really cold”.
Frank’s story was broadcast on RTE last week and since then he says the attention has become a bit mad. “At least 10 people say hi a day and ask about the adventure. I think it appeals to people’s imaginations, which is awesome. My lecturers often ask how I am doing and treat me like everyone else. I think it is fun for people to live vicariously through the video series”.
Frank says he’s motivated by the risks he’s running by living in a tent this way. There are some legal issues he may have to deal with if he’s ever found because of his current location. He’s also very vulnerable from a safety point of view because while he wants his tent and belongings to be left alone, he is broadcasting his story.
Frank told us he has to work hard to stay warm and dry otherwise he feels his university work could slip. But Frank still feels that this brave money saver has given him a new lease of life. “I think at this point I only see advantages. I love being out in the wild, slightly exposed with nature and weather putting the pressure on. I feel like I am really living. I feel present in my life and would prefer this lifestyle to a suit and a bus stop.”
With the cold weather imminent Frank is aiming to stay out in the tent no further then Christmas. “I am officially thinking no further than Christmas, but the wild side of my brain is thinking could I live like this for the rest of my life?”
Speaking to RTE, NUI Galway’s Students’ Union President, Paul Curley, said that Frank’s rent-saving idea is “a really novel way that the university, or I don’t think any university in Ireland, has seen before”.
Adam Higgins is our Deputy News Editor.