I know that for a lot of people, having a part-time job at university seems entirely alien, with some more privileged scoffing at the idea. For others, a job is a necessity to fund the excessive tuition and living costs that we have signed up to pay. For me, part-time work offers a nice flow of income, whilst generally having a positive impact on my life and studies.
Throughout sixth form I was told that a part-time job would compromise my studies, and that if I had to have one, I should keep the hours I do to a minimum. This was good advice, and I was able to balance my A-levels with working ten hours in a supermarket each week.
However, I decided to come to university and take a break from my part-time work. I thought, like many, that I should fully enjoy my first year and get involved with all that university has to offer. This I did, doing my work to an acceptable standard, joining various societies, and of course, going out often. However, this led to a lot of free time, more free time than I knew what to do with. Because of these huge voids between my commitments, I started to slip into bad habits, developing an erratic sleeping pattern and losing motivation.
customers often act like big bags of dicks
In the second year, I saw the error of my ways, and secured a part-time job. Admittedly the job is pretty cushy, and the benefits for me are great. Firstly, and most obviously, the pay. The extra income allows me a bit of luxury at uni that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford with just my loan. I can buy that new jumper or PlayStation game with money that otherwise would’ve had to have been spent on food or rent. Secondly, and most importantly for me, time management. If you have a seminar on a Monday at 8:30, but work late on Sunday, the work has to be done before you go to work – no excuses. I can plan better, and therefore work better. Thirdly, having a part time job takes you outside of the microcosm that is the University. At universities like Exeter, its easy to become embroiled in campus life, never daring to venture outside. A part-time job exposes you new parts of the city, and to lots of new people. And although customers often act like big bags of dicks, it’s a social and professional experience outside of normal university life.
Obviously a part-time job is not for everyone. I’ve been blessed with fewer contact hours, and I know it could get difficult for those in 9-5 Monday to Friday. However, for me, the skills, money and experience mean that I’ll advocate for part-time work to anyone