You know the feeling: Fresher’s is over, the rent has been paid, your fridge contains half a lime from when you tried to make the drinks posh, and for some reason your mates can still afford to go out drinking. Even though they’ve offered to buy you a few drinks (and I bet you’ve definitely accepted it), it’s going to be so much better if you can just afford it yourself.
Yes, I was one of the friends with a part time job. I frequently used sentences like, “can we do it on a week day evening instead?” and “I don’t get paid until next week”. I used to decline invitations to most birthday parties I was invited to and fold clothes in a silent rage while I knew my friends were out at the one decent gay night that I couldn’t get cover for. Thankfully I only worked in Primark – it could have been a lot worse.
It can be an even harder situation to be in if, like me, you had absolutely zero work experience. You need a job to get experience, experience to get a job, and it becomes an endless circle of oh my god I will never be employed in my whole life. It doesn’t end like that of course, because I’ll let you in on a secret: people love to hire students, because we’re broke and will probably do a lot of extra hours for cash. It’s no secret that nearly two thirds of students have part time jobs now.
I think the first thing to prepare for is that it will eat up your time. Universities often recommend not working more than twelve hours in a week, which works out as two hours a day and a rest at the weekend. But I won’t lie and pretend that sometimes I was working twenty-five hours in a week, and practically full time over the summer. It’s even at the point where there’s debate on whether part-time work should be banned for students. Utilize the free time in your days, because you never know when you’ll need to get it back.
There’s plus sides too, of course. Getting your first pay check is a great feeling, and the triumph of not having to rely on other people’s help is priceless. But remember that you’re here for a degree, and the effort you put into it is going to be what you get out of it. And if you’re struggling, the university has a money advice service that can help you out.
Do you have a part time job? Is there something else about student life that you think needs saying? Write for the SU Website! Email me at email@example.com and you could get a blog post (or slot!) on our website!