Part-time work: it’s not always ‘my treat’

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It’s fine to do something for yourself – Amy Ocelot

If you work whilst studying, you probably have that one friend that complains that you have more money compared to them. Don’t get me wrong, if you work you probably do have a little extra in your pocket, but that is only because you slave your way working over the weekend so that you’re able to pay rent or have slightly better food than tinned food or pizza every day. We all know that student finance is not enough to cover the rent alone and sometimes, we are forced into asking parents for a little extra money, or taking on a part-time job. If you’re an international student, and you’re self-sponsored, I’m pretty sure you know what it’s like to have to ask for money at the end of every term when you run out, only doing so after you’ve had no other choice.

Speaking from my personal experience, I always come across friends who, to put it nicely, are rather cheeky when it comes to paying during meals. People assume that because you work, you’re able to afford better things compared to them and hence, sometimes, you need to settle the bill on their behalf. It just so happens that those people, who most of the time receive student finance which they choose to blow on concert tickets or a holiday, are the ones that suggest this in the first instance. To me, working means being able to lighten the financial burden students already face, and also being able to go on holidays every now and then without having to ask my parents for money.

If you complain that you don’t have enough money and you’re actively searching for a job, that’s fine. But I choose to save a lot of my money too, and people seem to think that’s pretty odd. Isn’t saving money better than spending it on things that I don’t even need? I might not have the most up-to-date sound system or the fancy new Apple Watch, but I certainly have enough to help me during emergencies. A perfect example would be during Storm Eva recently. As I have no family members that I keep in contact with in England, I would had to stay a few nights in another city, but because I had some savings, I was able to purchase a ticket to go back home to Malaysia. Now, of course, not everyone would be in the same boat.

In my opinion, savings are extremely important as you could do no wrong in saving up for a rainy day. People who don’t work don’t know how long it takes to save up enough money to buy a little extra something, and that is why I take issue with those people who expect part-time workers to cover the bill. My case is on the people who don’t work, yet insist that you pay for something as it should be “your treat”. Granted, I have paid for some people’s meal without expecting anything in return, but the least that anyone could do is have the courtesy to do something nice back. Sometimes, even a candy bar would suffice, even if it’s only 20p. It’s honestly the thought that counts.

Regardless of whether you have worked a part-time job or not, we should all learn to appreciate the value of money. It’s never too late to learn that sometimes, some people work while they are studying so that they are able to afford slightly more luxurious things. Or perhaps it’s just to save for the future. Don’t hold your friendship ransom – just be courteous, and respect that it’s perfectly acceptable for someone to do something for themselves.

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