The first thing to take into account when reading this article is that everybody is different and this will not apply to every one. This is simply my findings from having a part time job whilst completing my second year at university.
Lets be honest, student finance is not enough to cover everything if you are looking for the full student experience. Whether its drinks on a Friday night or a cup of coffee from your local Costa, these things add up. Not to mention rent, transport and food: and that’s before we think about textbooks and stationary. You can spread the student finance as thinly as you like, but there is a good chance it isn’t going to cover even the basics.
Some students are lucky enough to receive money from their parents or have saved up from working in the holidays – others are not so fortunate. Getting a job may seem like an easy way to fund your student life style, but think very carefully before applying to any job. University demands a lot of your time so you must be able to keep up with all of the work that is expected of you. This will involve reading, assignments, essays and general studying. Having a part time job will mean you give up a lot of your free time. This may involve all weekend or selected nights in the week. Make sure you are certain that you are ready to give this freedom up.
However, don’t let this scare you. Yes, you will be working some inconvenient hours, but you are getting paid. The lack of financial worry is liberating. Yes, it will exhaust you but it makes you appreciate your time off so much more.
In my first year I did not work. I was fortunate enough that my parents would send me some money every month, not a huge amount but certainly enough to live off and cover all of my basic expenses. I very rarely went out and if I did it was to house parties where I would buy my drinks from the local supermarket at discounted prices. I very rarely went out for dinner or got cups of coffee from my local Costa. I was living comfortably but not getting much out of the University experience. Socializing on any form just seemed like an expensive luxury to me.
In the summer I got a job at a local restaurant and started bartending there. I decided to keep my job when term started again and just go from full time to part time hours. I am able to live a lot more comfortably and splurge on small luxuries now because of this extra income and honestly, it has thoroughly improved my university experience. Yes time management is difficult, but I somehow manage to keep on top of all my university work. I have made some incredible friends at work and am now able to go out far more than I did last year. But it’s not just the luxuries, it’s the piece of mind that I don’t dip into my overdraft at the end of the month and that I don’t really have to worry about being able to afford the things I need.
So yes there are negative and positive aspects to having a part-time job at Uni, but really there is just one question… do you really have the time? If the answer is yes, then go for it, however if you do not have the time working will wear you out. You may find it difficult to cope and end up regretting the decision to work. Certainly don’t let a part time job come in the way of obtaining your degree.
Consider all the options and your schedule before sending out any applications.
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