Sarah is a fictional second year medical student with non-fictional financial concerns. She is also the star of our latest student bursary appeal, created with help from our alumni.
We know that a student loan does not cover the cost of being a student at Edinburgh in 2013.
This is the headline information, but in putting together the appeal, we wanted to better understand how the financial landscape has changed and the nature and scale of the costs that today's students face.
Then and now
Using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter we asked our alumni to share memories and intelligence regarding rents, both on and off campus, and the cost of a pint of beer in Teviot.
The responses were a fascinating insight into the changing world of student life and a slice of Edinburgh social history.
We learnt a variety of things including the inclusion of breakfast in 1970s private rentals and the reassuring constant of ineffective heating and freezing flats.
I remember one large flat in Morningside Rd...Freezing! A two bar fire in the sitting room and subsidence so that the wind got in between the masonry in the front bedroom.
Pint sized prices
One factor that emerged from the beer discussion was the popularity of a style of beer which has very much fallen out of favour with today's student body. We speak, of course, of heavy.
When I arrived in '73 a pint of heavy in Teviot would have been about 25p.
You can join the discussion and share your experiences via our LinkedIn group.
We also gathered data from various government websites regarding food and heating costs and chatted to current students about their financial concerns. The resulting animation can be viewed online.