Part-time jobs at university: My thoughts

Even before starting university I knew I would be needing a part-time job. Like most students my loan just about covered my accommodation and left much to be desired in terms of living money. I’m not the sort to use the bank of mum very often, although I totally understand and see the appeal for others to do so. This left me with the reality of having to find yet another part-time job.

Even though I already had a job throughout college, and had worked the summer before university, I couldn’t find anything in the area that would take me except for care roles, which would have been fine but I had no car and couldn’t get to some of the locations they listed. The main issue was that my previous two jobs had both been within schools and with children and the majority of jobs in the area were retail-based. This led to me entering uni unemployed and living the first semester on roughly £20 a week for my food and laundry needs, as well as trying to enjoy my university experience by going out with my new housemates. I managed to avoid the overdraft my first semester but by January, I came to the shock that my loan and accommodation payments lined up so that I would have £5 a week to live on until April which I just couldn’t imagine. After delving into my overdraft a little to buy some food, I was kicking myself and really ramping up the job search again. Fortunately, it was the time of year when the local university nightclub was hiring a lot of students, requiring no experience and having a cap on weekly hours as not to conflict with our studies.

This job was a very interesting one, and maybe one day I’ll tell some tales of being on the other side of the bar. The role was great as it paid weekly so I was able to actually feed myself and finally get on with my driving lessons which I had paused before starting uni to revise for my A-level exams. By no means have I managed to live the life of luxury during university, but the job definitely helped me get by more comfortably, as well as make me deal with stressful situations a lot better than before.

Not everyone will be wanting a part-time job, either because they are in a financial position to not need one, or believe it will greatly affect their studies if they have other commitments. I believe that my part-time jobs both at university and college kept me more organised than if I hadn’t worked at all, such as giving me time goals to fit my timetable, as well as some monetary motivation to get out of my room away from Netflix, opting to head to the library a few hours before my shift to get some studying in before I walked to work across campus.

At the end of the day, everyone should do what makes them comfortable, to an extent. Pushing yourself a little will mean you are getting much more out of your time at university, even if it’s just joining a society or doing sport, having some commitments outside of studying are really beneficial to making sense of the hectic yet sparse timetable university initially gives us all.

-Chi

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