Advice

The benefits of a part-time job at university

I’ve had some laughable and fun part-time jobs in my time. Haven’t we all, though? I’ve been a stressed barista, a wand-making entertainment fairy, a Saturday girl for a local hairdressers, a summer schoolteacher and a server at a burger chain. As much as I may have hated and dreaded the early starts, the commutes and the endless glitter in my hair, I have definitely learnt from each of them and took something valuable away from my experience.

As cliché as it sounds, having a part-time job truly does help to set you up for the real world. I didn’t even know that I had a National Insurance number until I got my first job and I had no idea what a payslip was or what to do with it. I’m pretty certain I threw all mine away until I realised it was important and worth keeping. All these things become important to consider when you get a part-time job. When I worked as a summer schoolteacher, I really had to focus on my time management. It was an hour-round commute every day, there and back. Going straight from a lax University timetable to a full-time teaching schedule, I had to be really careful with my time. I had responsibilities; I had students to teach who were relying on me to show up on time. It sounds daunting, but having a part time job where I was responsible for something really motivated me to find a working routine, whilst fitting in any summer work and reading for my University course.

Now, I know that some people may be lucky enough to not need a part-time job. This wasn’t my case, but I stand by saying that it is worth getting a job even if you wouldn’t necessarily benefit from the financial gain. I’m not sure how I would split my time between study, work and play if I didn’t have a job. Having a job really helps me prioritise and put into perspective what’s important and what isn’t. I’m secretly grateful for the nights where I have a closing shift, because it means I can’t go out and spend money that I, really, just don’t have. It allows me to separate my day into what’s important without feeling like a wandering and lost student. I have purpose with my job, and that makes me feel better.

On a more serious note, as a student that suffers with mental health (like many, I’m sure), I often find it hard to leave my house when I’m having an off-day. Having a shift can often make or break days like this because it forces me to walk into town and back which is a good 40+ minute walk. I always feel better after coming back, because at least I can say I did something that day and I managed to get outside and do something productive.

If you are looking for a part-time job or you’re not sure where to get started, the Cardiff University JobShop on the 2nd floor of the Student’s Union is the best place to go for advice. Sign up for a JobShop card to get sent job opportunities that are flexible and fit in to a student lifestyle.

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