Working through university can be a struggle. You have a hectic timetable alongside your social life to balance. Your parents might want to see you at the weekend, but you have a deadline to complete for your coursework. Furthermore, you’re working Friday night til late and you can’t let your boss down. You begin to panic and stress – naturally. But hope is not lost! Although you may feel like you’re spinning plates, there are many ways you can balance a job at University amongst all the activities you’ll be involved in during some of the most important years of your life.
Firstly, don’t underestimate the importance of a job at university. Students are renown for being poor. It’s not a universal statement but it’s certainly applicable to the majority of people studying in higher education.
There are various costs to going to university – the more formal of payments coming in the shape of tuition fees and living costs. However, this aspect tends to be covered by your student loan. There are other fees your loan may not cover though. Books aren’t free. Food isn’t free. And yes, unfortunately alcohol isn’t free. Even if you don’t drink, all the social aspects of university tend to come at a price – from signing up to a society to going for a meal or course social. Having a job allows you to enjoy these comforts, at the sacrifice of the little time you may or may not have spare.
The key to succeeding in balancing your work life with your education and social life is good timekeeping, and also common sense. Put it this way, if you apply for a 9-5 Monday to Friday job, don’t look surprised if your boss complains when you insist you can’t work 75% of your timetable due to university clashes.
Fortunately, there are thousands of jobs around that have a central focus on flexibile working hours in order to accomodate students. Regardless, if you are successful enough to get an interview or even land the job, at the first possible instance make sure your boss knows what hours you can and can’t work. Don’t commit yourself to hours you know you may not be able to work, as this may come back to haunt you. Employers love reliable and efficient workers, so if you outline when you can work from day one, then they’ll know not to call upon you in unavailable hours.
Remember that you’re a student too. You may be studying a business management course but no company is going to make you a manager of their corporation anytime soon. You’re on your way to a career but you aren’t there yet. A lot of the jobs out there might not sound very fulfilling to your desired career path but don’t treat this as a step in your career path. It’s simply a money-maker. If you’re fortunate enough to earn a job that correlates to your degree then well done! However, the reality is that’s unlikely.
There are a huge amount of casual jobs that are most suitable for students so even if you feel it may be beneath you, suck in your pride and dive in head first. The work might not be for you but you’ll meet new people and it will certainly be an experience for you, hopefully an enjoyable one!
So don’t hesitate – start flying your CV around and go and earn some money that will take the crushing weight of debt and bills off your shoulders. You’ll feel more productive from it and may make your life easier. Good luck, jobseeker!
Written by Nathan Dunn