By Lydia Jackson
Whilst at university a part-time job is a fantastic way to build up some valid work experience and earn some extra cash, both of which will help you gain a job or internship upon graduation. However, whilst it is highly recommended to partake in extracurricular activities including work, it is important not to overdo things, burn yourself out or make yourself ill or stressed through simply doing too much. Here are a few fail safe steps to consider whilst applying for or accepting jobs which should ensure that you have all to gain, and little to lose.
A good start is to set yourself a realistic target of hours which you are going to work. These targets will fluctuate year to year and depends on what course you are studying towards, so make sure you look at your own case individually and don’t get tempted by the extra hours because your friend is able to work more. Once you consider any societies, socials and assignments you have, plus commuting, you may find that you are available much less than initially anticipated. It is also worth considering that even though you may be able to work a certain number of hours towards the beginning of a term, you may not be able to keep on top of them when coursework and exams approach. Being realistic will prevent you having to quit your job and enter a mad rush to meet your deadlines.
Occasionally you may have to work less than planned due to uni workloads or an exam schedule. If this is the case, you should be honest with your employer and give them a heads up on the situation as early as possible, rather than call in sick. If your employer knows that you are a student then they should be understanding about the odd situation which requires you dedicating your time to your studies. A diary is a great way to ensure you keep organised and on top of things, preventing you from forgetting a shift or getting flustered when a deadline is approaching sooner than anticipated. This is particularly useful for courses where you have seminars or presentations meaning that your uni hours fluctuate from week to week. Whilst essential for prioritising, and ensuring you don’t say you can work when you can’t, a diary is also a great way to make sure that you don’t miss any nights out that you’re super keen for!
All in all, the most important thing for juggling a part time job and uni is to be realistic, honest and organised. Make sure you make time for doing something fun too!