Working while at University
At university, you’ll be away from your parents’ financial safety net for what could be the first time in your life, and will be forced to manage your money by yourself. Money is notoriously tight at uni and you may find yourself wondering: should I get a job? You should always be careful to not over-commit yourself, remembering the reason you are at uni in the first place – to get a degree. As long as you’re not exceeding 15 hours a week, your studies, social life and job should be able to co-exist healthily.
“I worried that a job might take over my uni life, so instead I had a waitressing job at home. This meant I could work throughout the long holidays and save up enough to ensure I was comfortable when I got back to uni” – Toni Waterfall.
If you can, get a job. I had a part-time job throughout uni which meant I was earning money – it also gave me a reason to change out of my PJs before 4pm on the days I didn’t have any lectures” – Lisa Swan.
Volunteering can be a great way to enhance your uni experience. It gives you the chance to have fun and feel a sense of achievement while meeting new people, making a difference in the community and developing key skills that many employers look for – for example, project management, teamwork skills and communication. As an unpaid activity, you may be unable to dedicate a vast amount of your time to it, but you could find that even a few hours a week volunteering is hugely satisfying.
An internship – a short period of professional and structured work experience – can really help give you a taste of what graduate work is like, as well as allowing you to mingle with industry contacts and boosting your CV. You will often be able to arrange internships through your university and they will usually last between six and 12 weeks. You will, however, need to create a seamless balance between your work and studies to ensure neither suffers.
Embrace uni life and get involved with one of the many clubs and societies that all universities offer. It’s one of the best ways to broaden your horizons, have fun and meet like-minded people. Every uni is full of opportunities for leadership, learning and personal growth and can develop vital traits that employers are looking for. From honing your journalistic, writing and media skills by working for the student newspaper or radio to leading the snow sports team, there’s something out there for everyone.
Check out our education page here for resources to help your through your university course.