Barista. Bartender. Bicycle repairer. Opportunity knocks for extra cash and more.

Uni is supposed to be the best 3-5 years of our life. Parties, sports and coffee mornings are the staple of uni life. However, they are also a sure way to empty your bank account quicker than you can down a jägerbomb. The fact is, student loans just don’t cover our lavish student lifestyle.

For an increasing amount of students, part-time jobs are the best way to fund their studies. For starters, you don’t have to live with the guilt of taking yet more money from mum and dad. Excuses for not working range from ‘I don’t have the time’ to ‘I want to focus on my degree’. But when the student loan runs out and you can’t go to your best friend’s birthday bash, can you really afford not to have a part-time job?

The key to be a successfully employed student is to choose the right job. Retail or fast food is usually the way to go – they are super flexible and will most likely let you have that Saturday night off for the foam party in town. When it comes down to it, flexibility is everything. Bag yourself an ‘evening and weekend’ contract, that way you know you won’t have to be in a lecture and at work. Also, don’t go for any job with a contract of more than 10 hours a week. Remember, you are still a student, not the latest ambassador for the new burrito place in town. You still have a degree to work on.

Part-time work is also an amazing opportunity to meet a whole new set of people. Living with your housemates and constantly being exposed to people on your course does become monotonous. A set of fresh faces or different people to turn to really makes a difference. Who else are you going to complain about your housemates to?! You may also find that most people you work with are also like-minded students just trying to earn some extra money to get them through University. Having a part-time job is a great way to expand your social horizons.

As well as a change in social scenery, a part-time job can also give you a break from the stresses of University life. When deadlines are around the corner and reading is getting you down, sometimes a short shift at work is just what you need to refresh yourself and refocus your mind on your studies. A few hours mindlessly stacking shelves and thinking halfheartedly about an essay you need to do sometimes creates some genius points and ideas. I can’t count the times that I have finished a shift at work and been more motivated to write my essays.

Obviously the best perk about having a part time job at University is the constant income. When everyone else is worrying about how to make their student loan stretch to the end of the semester, you can rest a bit easier knowing that you have some money coming in at the end of the month. You don’t have to work too many hours to get a decent income either. For me, doing ten hours a week will get me a decent £300 a month. Ten hours a week is not too much of my life; I can still focus on my degree and that £300 makes a great difference.

The only con with having a part-time job at university is missing out on some social events with your friends. I work Saturday nights – oh how I regret that one! But missing out on one night out a week doesn’t do me any harm when I know I’m going to be able to afford many more social events on other days.

In a world where ‘employability’ is becoming a key term within University degrees, there is nothing more employable about someone who has already been employed. Having a part-time job at University makes it significantly easier to get into employment after graduation. Therefore having a part-time job at University is a no-brainer. Yes, sometimes I wish I didn’t work and could enjoy a Thursday and Saturday night doing whatever I want to do. However, the money and the people I meet make it worth it. As a student and a part-time worker, I feel like a much more well-rounded, happy and more ambitious person. 

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Written by Emma Riches, 10 months ago