Here at Push we’re always banging on about how great part-time work can be. And not just for the extra cash, but that’s a bonus all in itself. Bring on that wonga.
And there’s loads of other benefits, too.
Moving to a new area to study? You’ll meet loads of new people, make some new friends and being around locals is the best place to pick up insider info on all the best shopping and nightlife spots, best restaurants, top rated take aways, places to hit up and places to avoid. Pretty handy.
You’re also setting yourself apart from the crowd. Sure, a degree or similar qualification is an incredible achievement, and nothing can take that away from you. But with half of all young people now heading down the uni route, it might not set you apart quite as much as it would have done ten or twenty years ago.
So how do you make yourself stand out?
Go above and beyond. Show employers that you’ve done something extra, something that lots of other grads might not have bothered to do.
Having work experience in your pocket not only gives you a headstart in terms of real life experience of the skills many employers would be looking for, like teamwork, time management, customer skills and self-motivation, it also shows that you’re willing to put extra effort in to better yourself and your situation.
So you get the cold hard cash, and the better prospects. Win-win.
But if you’re going to uni or taking further studies and thinking working alongside might be the way forward, how much is the right amount? How much is too much?
In the tough part-time and entry level job market in student-dense areas like uni campuses, it might be tempting to take any job that you’re offered.
But remember, your studies are what it’s all about. Don’t take on a full time job on top just because the cash is enticing and you think, well, who really needs to sleep at night, anway?
An article by the Guardian looked at some of the experiences of the students with loans that didn’t cover their living costs, and they came up with some top advice when finding work alongside studies:
Find work through your uni: “many have part-time jobs in cafes, bars and shops on campus … these will be at least minimum wage and are likely to offer a healthy number of hours to fit easily around studies.”
Try to regularly check both physical and online noticeboards for vacancies. Also, print out your CV and drop it off in workplaces so they have it to hand in case anything comes up short-notice.
Know what you’re getting into: for work-study-life balance, aim for 15 hours a week, with 20 at a maximum.
And make sure you know what your timetable looks like before you commit to any hours – “There have been numerous times where I’ve been put on the rota for a shift at the same time as a lecture or seminar,” says Josh Chapman, a third-year journalism student at Sheffield Hallam. “That can be difficult, because you miss out on information and teaching.”
Put yourself (and your health) first: keep in mind that your studies are your priority. Any jobs are just a means to an end. Don’t ruin your experience and your grades by working yourself to the bone.
Working unsociable hours can be difficult if you have a 9am lecture the next day, so make sure you’re getting adequate sleep and downtime.
Want some more advice on part-time work? Have a look here for more advice on striking the perfect balance for you.
LUCY HARDING is an English Literature grad and an MA Publishing student at UCL. She is passionate about international relations and cultural diversity, having worked closely with her university’s Erasmus society to support European students. She also spent a year abroad studying at California State University: Long Beach
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