For some of us, having a part time job can be an ideal way of making ends meet at University. But whilst having some extra cash can be helpful, juggling a job with your studies can be tough.

Second year English Literature student Charlotte Keogh weighs up the pros and cons of having a part time job whilst studying…

A part time job at uni can be a brilliant way to make a little bit of money and is something to add to your CV. It can open doors to potential careers and can improve your social life but it can also be a distraction and an added stress to an already stressful period of your life. Having worked in a fast food restaurant, a clothing store, a school, a hospital and even done a couple of trial shifts behind bars, I can safely say that most – if not all, part time jobs have their strengths and weaknesses.

An important thing to remember is to find a balance between making money and staying focused on your course. It’s easy to pick up those extra hours during our longer holidays and in that tight month before the next loan comes in but if it comes at a cost to your academic success or your general well-being then it’s never worth it. In the long run, an extra 10 hours at work isn’t going to boost your bank account greatly but that time may be the difference in getting that extra 5 per cent on your work.

Keeping your working hours under control also leaves you that spare time to take up other activities that can enhance your potential after graduating. Volunteer roles, internships, work experience are all key components in a successful plan to kick start your career and having a job whilst looking for these opportunities can be hugely advantageous. Talk to your colleagues and managers because, for the majority, you will find that people will readily support someone who wants to develop and grow.

Don’t get me wrong though, I strongly encourage students to maintain a part time job alongside their studies – not just for the money. The relationships that you build with your work colleagues can be priceless; not only are you making friends but when it comes to having to network at the start of your career you may have some useful contacts already.

Having a secure part time job when you graduate can also ease that sense of panic that might kick in if you’re still not 100 per cent sure where you want to go after university. No matter what people might say, it is okay to carry on a retail job until you’ve found the path you want to follow and it is okay to stay in that bar job until you’ve got enough saved up to take you on that year of travel.

Whatever job you’re in whilst studying – enjoy it! This is not to say don’t be responsible and sensible about your punctuality and attendance, but while you’re not working 40 hours a week or undergoing your PGCE or battling for that next promotion, you should make the most of working less hours, studying towards your degree and spending that hard earned cash!

If you have any financial concerns or questions about money matters, get in touch with the student services team.

Did you know we offer all our students the chance to work in roles around the University through our OpportUNIty scheme? This includes working as ambassadors at our Open Days, visiting school and colleges, working with the web team and responding to other student questions on social media.

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