Overall, the most important point to make is that balance is key. Working part-time alongside studying is a great way to expand your horizons, improve your résumé, prevent you from becoming ingrained in a cliché student lifestyle and, of course, benefit you financially. So long as you manage your time well, and ensure that your studies are impacted as little as possible, it’s definitely worth entertaining the idea – should you be lucky enough to be the one making the choice!?
Admittedly, this isn’t so much a question to many new and current students as it is a conundrum. Many will have to be working concurrently to fund their education, while just as many will be lucky enough to be able to focus fully on their studies. Despite much media hand-wringing to the contrary, a university degree is a full-time job in itself: not just for chemistry students in the lab for upwards of forty hours a week, but also for arts students spending every waking minute reading and analysing texts from their chosen field. Here, it’s not our aim to suggest a superior approach, but rather to explore the positives, and drawbacks, of what, for many, unfortunately remains a necessity.
By Editor B
A major part of the university experience is the new social opportunities. Living away from home for the very first time, for many students juggling between exciting new adventures with friendship groups and societies and actual studying is a hard balance to find. Add employment to this mix and it suddenly seems that there’s not enough time in the day! The university social experience is both a primer for the real world and an absolutely unique experience incredibly far removed from the ‘real world’. Working part-time will keep you grounded, but also means that you won’t be able to fully embrace the student experience. At least you’re more likely to stay out of trouble!
By Jirka Matousek
This distraction from the student lifestyle can also be incredibly beneficial, particularly for students with less contact hours. The temptation to procrastinate and wile away one’s time can be tempered by the structure of the workplace. Removing oneself from the often-insular bubble of uni life (particularly when living on campus) will help with many of the issues more engrained students face. Exam and revision stress, for example: while it might seem that employment imposes upon revision negatively, the organisation it brings should help to focus your mind, force you to efficiently structure your time and, most importantly, provide a respite from these stresses. Such an environment will not only take your mind off the impending exams and essays but also offer a haven away from the library.
Furthermore, it’s an unfortunate sign of contemporary life that a degree in and of itself isn’t enough. When moving into the working world, the experience and the skills learned in the workplace (even if it’s as seemingly simple as bar work) are arguably just as attractive to potential employers as a good degree. A résumé that shows that you not only excel academically, but can also thrive in a variety of environments, demonstrates that you can apply this learned knowledge and intelligence to the actual world. Not only will you be more financially comfortable – or at least stable – you’ll also be in an excellent position to combine and apply your experiences once you’ve graduated.