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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Warwick chapter.

For many students, a part-time job alongside our studies is a fundamental part of the university experience. Whether it’s for the experience, the skills, the CV-booster or, let’s be honest, the money – we are on a student budget after all – most students are balancing a part-time job with our commitment to a full-time degree. We’re all used to the usual suspects: bartending, waitressing, tutoring, shopkeeping. Most of us have done at least one of these – I’m four for four. Occasionally, you’ll get talking to someone who’s doing something a bit different; I had a friend who did a couple of hours of childcare each week after a seminar last year. I don’t know any other students who share my job though; there certainly aren’t many of us. By week, I’m a student; by weekend, I’m a bus driver.

Why Bus Driving?

It’s not a profession most students even consider, but when you think it through, it starts to make a bit more sense. When we get a job, we’re looking for good pay, sure – and post-pandemic bus driving certainly doesn’t disappoint – but we also want to something that’s manageable alongside a degree in terms of time and stress, that isn’t completely soul-destroying (if not something we enjoy), that gives us a break from university, that offers good experience for future employment, and hopefully something that feels meaningful. Finding a job that satisfies even half of those requirements is a pretty tall order, and the answers will vary from person to person. But for me, bus driving was the solution.

My Journey

As students, a lot of us are dependent on buses, but never more than for those of us who live in places isolated from our peers. Living on campus in first year, everything is close by – but if you commute in from your parents’ place, the bus becomes a lot more central to your daily life. For me, however, this realisation came when I spent the third term of my first year as an undergraduate in hospital. I had a car, but parking at UHCW (University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire) isn’t designed for anyone staying more than a day. Instead, my only connections to campus were the bus routes that reach out to UHCW’s awkwardly suburban setting. For the people who rely on them, buses mean something. That was something I wanted to give back. So, a year later, I started my training with National Express in Coventry, and by the beginning of August 2023, I was a fully qualified and independent bus driver.

Surely it isn’t all sunshine and roses?

Of course, bus driving isn’t ideal for everyone. You’ll spend a lot of time sat down, and a lot of time driving, so if you’re particularly restless, or don’t enjoy driving, obviously not going to be a great match. It’s pretty restrictive in terms of drinking, too – I can only drink from Mondays to Wednesdays, so Fridays at Neon are off the table. You’re typically going to be part of a big organisation too, so you don’t have the same flexibility afforded by a small, family-run business. You’ll barely see your colleagues except to switch drivers, too – but then, for a girl with anxiety, these ‘problems’ range from non-issues to advantages.

A public-facing job for someone who hates facing the public?

At first glance, friends and colleagues alike have questioned my choice on account of my anxiety – I see more people in my job than most students will in theirs. But think about the setup of a bus – the driver is in their own private compartment, protected by a thick plastic screen, and most passengers will barely interact with you. Combine that with the therapeutic effects driving has on many people, including myself, and you’re onto a winner. Once you’re in that cab, the main focus is just on you and the road, and the second the wheels start turning, you’re in a world all your own.

So…should you do it too?

So, I’d recommend at least considering it for all those looking for a part-time job. Unlike tutoring or teaching, there’s no preparation or homework – you show up, do your job, and leave. You don’t have to worry about having a terrible boss, because you barely even see your superiors either way. It’s something entirely removed from the university experience and makes for a reliable option even after you’ve finished your studies. There’s that typical arts student life plan of going into teaching and writing on the side until you make it big – but with teaching, doing anything on the side is nigh on impossible. But once I’ve left university, bus driving will facilitate my writing for as long as it needs to, wherever in the world it needs to. From an exhausted student at a British university to my plans as a struggling poet in Italy, having a source of income, relaxation and meaning is invaluable. Whatever that is for you, a part-time job at university is a great time to figure it out – and that’s what bus driving is for me.

Vance Hatton

Warwick '24

Hi! I'm Vance, a third-year English Literature and Creative Writing student at the University of Warwick. I'm mostly a poet, but a little journalism can't hurt ;) Beyond that, I'm a gay globetrotter and gamer girl, and proud to be part of Warwick's chapter of Her Campus!