Holding Down a Job When You’re Knee Deep in University Life: A Guide

Photo credit: marcmo (via flickr)

By Hannah Newberry

It’s understandable that some people don’t want extra commitments to contend with after university begins again, and all have valid reasons. Some are poor at time management and would rather be skint than have to resit a year, others can’t stand to be away from the social for too long, and a few just want to bask in the luckiness of living on parent’s money and student loan for a while. The sad truth is that when you start eyeing up extra food, or have a ‘treat yourself’ mentality that lasts literally a day – it’ll hit you that you can’t cope financially without a job. No matter how horrific the concept of working extra hours out of your own choice is, you simply can’t stand another night of hoping your overdraft vanishes because you chose another night out over a food shop you desperately need.

Holding down a job actually isn’t too bad – you just have to search for one that suits which kind of student you are. I took on bar work, working late nights to compliment the fact that I only knuckle down and get work done late in the afternoons and evenings. I am not a morning worker. Sleeping in until midday left me with motivation, instead of trying to force myself to focus when my body clock just wanted to relax. So many students will apply to a job they used to have at home, with long hours in the middle of the day, and by the time you get home and your housemates are snacking on curry and watching Gogglebox, the last thing you’ll want to do is look at the reading material for your seminars.

It’s also good for maintaining your work ethic, because if you cram everything in on a schedule before you’re called in for your shift, then pouring drinks and chatting to customers technically counts as down time. For me, working club nights almost felt like I was away from my obligations, but at the same time I wasn’t spending money or waking up being sick into a bin. It’s also crucial to remember that work can be more fulfilling than just a means for getting cash– if you build up a ‘work life’ then it’s easier to compliment it into your daily routine. Make friends there, find out the inside jokes, and offer to swap shifts with your co-workers so that they can owe you one when future plans crop up.

The most important tip to holding down a job is to SPEND IT RESPONSIBLY – as lame as this sounds, if you just blow it on VKs and Deliveroo from Five Guys, then you’ll have nothing to show for your job and be more inclined to quit. Put a bit aside for a holiday, get a nice fuzzy jumper, stock up on some DVDs for those boring nights in. You’ll be grateful you made the decision to get out of bed and resisted the urge to be a stereotypically skint student with no experience when you’re looking for a graduate job.

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