Free time

The Highs & Lows of Having a Part-time Job Whilst at University

Student loans; brilliant, yes? But alas we have bills, rent, food shops and let’s face it, general living! By this point you’re left with little to no money…

It always made sense for me to get a job. Having both parents still together my loan is significantly lower than the likes of many of my peers with divorced parents whom get pretty hefty loans. Regardless of how flawed the student loan system is, it comes down to this: if I want to have anything nice for myself I have to work.
I see it like this: my loan is for food, it’s for rent, it’s for all those boring things I do not want to spend my money on but kind of have to. My work money is for me, it’s for clothes, for nights out, for holidays.
So I work. I spend my weekends not out with friends enjoying free-time and studying, but making coffee.
Naturally I’ll start with the negatives so I can tactically end the post on a high which makes you go ‘wow I should get a job!’, because honestly, it is awesome!
Definite Cons to Having a Job Whilst Studying
  1. “I know it’s Saturday night but I had work until 7 and I haven’t eaten all day and my feet/back/legs/[insert any other body part here] ache so much I think they may fall off and I have another 8 hour shift tomorrow… So, no, I can’t come out.”
  2. Nights in the library after work all day to catch up on work I could have been doing in the day.
  3. Missing out on all the fun things my friends seem to do on the weekends. Vintage fair? Oh, sorry, only on Sundays. All day gigs along Albert Road? Ah, it’s on a Saturday. Big house brunch? Of course, Sunday mornings.
  5. “Yes I have the money to do this with you… No, I can’t have the time off work to actually do it.”
  6. Saying yes to all those extra shifts seems like a great idea at the time but when you’re drowning in all the work you haven’t quite completed, it’s not a brilliant idea.

The Wonderful Wonderful Pros to Having a Job Whilst Studying

  1. I am not in debt! I haven’t even neared my overdraft and money isn’t as scary a concept as it is for many of my peers who hide at the sight of their bank accounts.
  2. I can afford to do so many lovely things. I traveled to five different countries (Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, France and Ireland) this summer which was just an incredible! There’s no way I could have done that without my wages. It made all the hard work worth it and I even managed to do a bit of travel writing whilst I was out there!
  3. I met so many amazing people who I would never have come across had I not worked. It’s so lovely to know people who live in Portsmouth and don’t just study here. It even meant that I could come stay in Portsmouth in the summer for a couple of nights on a stop over to the Isle of Wight before my tenancy started. It’s who you know!
  4. Whether it’s bar work, in a restaurant, retail, in a coffee shop or even for the university, it’s all an experience! You probably don’t want to do whatever it is you’re doing part-time for the rest of your life but there are so many transferable skills. Applying for a job which requires people skills? Well, I spent 3 years of my life serving coffee to hundreds of people each weekend in the city centre. People skills? Check!
  5. If you write, like me, it may inspire you!
  6. It gives you a break from everything else which is going on. I find work is the best way to keep my mind off of things.
  7. It’s such an accomplishment to come home at the end of the day and know you’ve made money and been productive.
  8. Basically, working is hard and can be difficult to balance with uni life and deadlines, but if you find somewhere (like the university) who understand your other commitments and are flexible enough to accommodate to your needs then you’re set. I say go get ’em!

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