The Working Student

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Is it a good idea to get a part-time job at university?

Before I came to university last September, I thought that getting a part-time job would be a key part of the experience. However, even in the more relaxed world of first-year, work still needs to be done, not to mention societies and making and maintaining a healthy social life, which can make it hard to find time to get a job.

I spoke to 4 first-year undergraduate students here at Lancaster University about their experiences with part-time jobs, and whether or not they think they’re a good idea:

“I work a long shift every Sunday. I would say it’s a massive strain as I lose a whole day a week, which makes it harder to get work done. As I’m out at work all day, I spend a lot of time socialising on Saturday, and it’s also a very tiring shift which means I usually don’t do any work on Monday. Although I think the extra money is good, I’ll probably quit in my second year because it’ll get too much to manage with the workload and the pay still isn’t great. I’ve told others thinking about getting a job to avoid it if they can and just budget instead.”

“I didn’t have a job at home, but I intended on getting a job when I started uni. However, I ended up having a lot of my free time taken up by societies, and in first term I decided to prioritise making friends. Then, my money started depleting quicker than I’d imagined, so at the beginning of second term I started looking for jobs, but nowhere I applied to got back to me. Then I started doing online tutoring, which is very flexible with hours. I also applied to become a student ambassador for my department, which doesn’t demand a lot of regular hours, and is great for me as I don’t have that much free time and it means I can still enjoy uni life whilst earning a bit of extra money.”

“My original intent was to work a lot at home over the summer (which I did), so I wouldn’t need to get a job at uni. However, I thought I’d have a lot more work to do than I’ve ended up having so far and, even with commitments to societies, I’ve actually ended up with a lot of free time. I also go on nights out a lot, and as I’ve got the time, I’ve started applying for jobs in Lancaster, so I can make some money to fund my social life here, and I can save some of what I earned in the summer before uni for long-term expenses. But, if you don’t want to work, and don’t have to, I think it’s better for students to just enjoy themselves at uni.”

“I don’t work at university, but I’ve worked part-time in a coffee shop at home for a few years. Initially, I wanted to get a job at uni but during first term, my main priority became settling in and making friends, and in the second term I felt too overloaded with work to find the time. Working at uni might be something I would like to do in the future, and I think it could be fulfilling for some people, especially if the job relates to their career ambitions. At the moment, though, I want to work quite a lot of hours at home during the holidays, so I can afford to go on nights out and enjoy myself at uni.”

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