There comes a time when after receiving the first student loans instalment, and following a few crazy, party-filled weeks of Uni, we open our online bank balance and die a little inside. We’ve all been there. Some of us quickly list tons of our old clothing on Depop, some of us make that sheepish phone call to mum and dad, and some of us start looking into getting a student job. But is it really worth it? Here I’ll weigh up the pros and cons of juggling work and Uni, based on my own experiences and other people who are currently doing the same.
Let’s face it. Money really does make the world go round. And who would complain about having an extra few hundred pounds in their bank account each month? Think about all the cute clothes/shoes/makeup/books/vinyls etc. you could buy, the incredible experiences and holidays you could save up for, not to mention the extortionate cost of living in London to begin with! You might even end up better at sticking to your budget. Instead of praying you haven’t exceeded your arranged overdraft, having the extra cash is a welcome reassurance, especially for a rainy day!
CV Experience and impressing your future employer
Having any sort of experience in employment whilst studying looks good on your CV. Whether that means you’re a student ambassador at Uni, working a retail job, or you’re a buzzing barista at a hipster café, having a job shows your capabilities of handling several factors at once, whether that is organisation, time management, dealing with stress or increasing your customer skills. Future employers may view you as more particularly driven, ambitious and reliable, which will make you a great asset to the team.
Having a job, especially if it extends into your summer holidays, means that while some of your friends may be staying up to 4am and sleeping in until 2pm, you’ll retain some sort of structure and routine in your day (if that’s your thing). Having to set an alarm during your weekend, or working late shifts after classes may seem labourious, but trust me, it works wonders for your body clock. You’ll probably find it easier to sleep at night due to having a regular schedule and compartmentalising your day, and you’ll find you have way more energy than your snoozing friends.
Increasing your efficiency/productivity
Which brings us to this point: increasing your productivity. Most of us will have had to multitask at some point in our lives, and it seems a paradoxical phenomena that the more things we do, the quicker and better we get them done. For example, you might work ahead of upcoming assignment deadlines, because you know you’ll spend X number of hours at work. In the same way engaging in sports at Uni or getting involved in extra-curricular activities may make you a proactive student, having a job means that you will figure out how to prioritise and manage your tasks.
You might meet people at work who will benefit your professional network in the long-run. In addition to getting new LinkedIn connections, you’ll probably make new friends at your workplace! #GroupHug
Falling behind at Uni
Unfortunately, taking a job may take a toll on your grades. It can be quite easy to push your academic work aside if your job is well paying and, with the sometimes impossible amount of set reading per week, falling further and further behind can be a real issue. You might find yourself panicking to complete your assignments during your commutes, or during your breaks at work, which is a major downer.
Less ‘me’ time/time to socialise
You’ll hear this often from students with jobs, but sometimes there is literally no time to do anything else but work and study. You might see your friends less, and you might not have the same self-care habits as you had previously. That means no more binge-watching TV shows, no more cosying up to a good book, no more gym sessions, no more concerts, no more hitting the town with your girls. You might even start neglecting your health and wellbeing too!
Finally, the end stage of the work-study struggle is the burn out. An accumulation of the stress of having less time to yourself, compromising your sleep by pulling all-nighters to finish your essays, and slipping grades is a mentally exhaustive grind to a halt. You might skip Uni seminars/tutorials more, or fake being sick more times at work. Burning out can be damaging to your mental health so make sure you seek support if needed, and it may simply mean you just need a break!
So after weighing up both sides of the argument, the decision is yours to make. Comment below if I’ve missed anything!