Image: Pictures of Money / Flickr
Image: Pictures of Money / Flickr

Lessons you don’t learn in the library

There’s nothing sweeter than getting those dolla’ dolla’ bills, or well, pounds. The silent electronic whoosh of money going into my account is definitely one of my favourite moments. However, as the head of UCAS recently urged students to avoid job-searching at university for work after graduation, should we rethink taking on part-time jobs during our studies too?

I currently work as a student fundraiser and at the Mead Gallery, and starting the former during exams shocked a few friends! But with the shadow of organising post-graduation plans and more importantly, their expense, I didn’t feel like I had much choice considering that even my final year of hermetically living on campus has had hidden costs. I may have opted out of living in Leamington i.e. on the U1, but the price of bus tickets add up when meeting friends or getting to the train station.

It’s easy to forget that a few hours rushing around or dealing with customers can be exhausting…

Alternatively, there’s graduation celebrations. Of course, it’s my choice to attend events like the Graduation Ball and get dolled up, but the price of hiring just a cap and gown really start to mount up. Even co-workers at my jobs have commented that they’ll need parental support for this, but what if you don’t have that option?

Part-time work does take its toll too. It’s easy to forget that a few hours of rushing around or dealing with customers can be exhausting. So afterwards, a warm bed seems more appealing than working on that upcoming deadline. Plus, as a type one diabetic, I find myself slightly hangry after a long shift with awkward hours. When precious time is dwindling away after a shift, it’s easy to reach for something fast and often not very nutritious.

The knowledge that you can’t afford to waste too much time because of an upcoming shift is motivation to study…

It’s not all bad though. Part-time work has given me great examples for nailing difficult questions at interviews and some essential skills for my CV. I often take on extra one-off work or volunteering that lets me interact with a wide range of people and try new experiences. The most recent being face painting! There’s also a personal benefit in such jobs, places like a gallery lead to some fascinating conversations that you wouldn’t have elsewhere.

Moreover, some co-workers find that balancing work and study has increased their productivity. Although I’ve still been victim to the siren song of procrastinating at times, the knowledge that you can’t afford to waste too much time because of an upcoming shift, is motivation to study.

It’s clear that part-time work isn’t all bad and the real issue is the pressure to work owing to the financial stress of higher tuition fees and the cost of living, which then affects other parts of students’ lives. Part-time work should really be taken on for its benefits, not because of the pressure on student wallets and their lives, which is threatening to increase even more.

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