Working at university can be one of the best things for you to do but also one of the most frustrating. As someone who is currently working part time at university, I definitely understand the pros and cons.
One of the best things about working whilst at university is having extra money coming in, unless you are very lucky and have the money to get through university without a job, which isn’t many of us. Having a job can take the stress off of wondering if your student finance can last you through until the next payment (that’s if it even covers your rent). It’s also very nice knowing you are less likely to go into your overdraft or knowing you can get out of it faster than most people. Sometimes working is the only choice we have if your student loan doesn’t even cover your rent or just covers it, so you need money to actually be able to eat, pay your phone bill, go on nights out etc.
Another positive about working is how good your CV will look after university compared to those who haven’t worked. It shows you’ve had the initiative to get as much experience as possible, whether it’s in the sector of work you want to go into or not. By working through university it will show that you will understand the need for good time management, good organisation skills, that you can juggle multiple things at once and that you already have an understanding of the world of work. A lot of companies and businesses would much rather see a CV with a part time job on it rather than knowing you’ve just studied and partied through university, and that you’ve had other responsibilities to juggle through university.
A major negative is the time working takes away from your studies and social life. You have coursework coming up, exams looming, group presentations to meet up for, but you also have a job to go to. Time you would much rather be spending on your studies so you can get the best possible grade out there but instead you have to try and juggle your job and everything at once. The majority of people who work part time have to work weekends (if not you’re extremely lucky), meaning you miss out on a lot of social events, especially if the majority of your friends don’t work (like mine). I’m lucky enough that I don’t work on Sunday’s, so I’m not completely doomed to missing out on things. However getting back from work at 11:30pm on a Saturday night can be very frustrating. Especially, when you find out you’ve missed a day of day drinking, shopping or if everyone’s going out by the time I get back but I’m so tired from having to get up at 7:30am that morning and I haven’t got enough time to get ready before everyone leaves.
One thing that I find frustrating about having to work part time is that I don’t have time to do volunteering alongside my degree and part time job. Obviously volunteering can be done alongside both of these if you have time and your university course doesn’t require you to be in university often. Having volunteer work or work experience in the sector you want to go into after university can look really good on a CV. I’m lucky enough that my university has given me the option to do a one term of work experience in my second year of university, so I will have some experience in the sector of work I want. However it would still be much better if I had the time to do one or two days a week doing a placement/ volunteering.
Working part time means that you get to expand your social circle and you gain contacts and more friends. You generally find that the jobs available for students often have other students and young people working for them and often enough the people you work with can make or break a job.
Overall, working part time while at university has many positives and negatives. But in the long run it can teach you a lot about yourself and can potentially push you to your best potential and give you a head start when your CV is being looked at for a future job. If you are lucky enough not to need the extra money while at university, I would definitely recommend at least doing some work experience or volunteer work to show you’ve had the initiative to try and improve your CV and learn about the world of work.