Working part-time at uni
Working a part-time job at university can be both rewarding and draining, depending on how much it impacts on your time to adequately study, socialise and rest.
Over summer before I started my final year, I worked in Curiositea in order to gain some experience. Having only previously bartista’d a little bit, it was a short and intensive introduction to the working life. Very quickly, I came to understand the pressures that come with a food and drinks preparation / service job. It’s fast paced and you need to think on your feet. It’s also important to learn how to navigate customers as well as your fellow colleagues. The space at Curiositea is small and it’s easy to get in each other’s way. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience as I had not worked in an environment like that before, but I’m grateful for each experience I have as I feel like it grows and develops you in different ways.
Afterwards, I moved to working in the Dirty Duck pub/restaurant as the day and evening hours suited me better. Here at Warwick we have choices of working in the Bread Oven during lunch and Xananas restaurant from morning to evening, as well as the Terrace Bar and Copper Rooms for later night shifts. This is good because it means there are a variety of roles offered; some of which involve handling alcohol, some coffee, some food and some a mixture. This is great for people who may not feel comfortable with certain job roles, or who may prefer certain hours (like myself).
Transitioning between the two was a fun process as I personally found bartending to be more ‘chill’ than preparing coffee – this may come from my lack of experience making good coffee at a fast pace. It definitely comes with practise, however, so I would not deter anyone from trying.
Nevertheless, working at both it showed me the intensity working part-time jobs can bring. The required 12 hours a week (as part of the termly contract) is a significant time to commit outside of your studies if you are involved in other things. I found that during the term I became heavily involved in other societies (such as Salsa dancing) and so part-time work was not as feasible for me. Over holiday periods, however, I found working a welcome break and a great way to earn some money (especially in the build up to Christmas!).
Moreover, I have loved becoming part of the on-campus community. Given that I live here, it is lovely to see familiar faces and be recognised by some. You feel like less of a stranger around others and you know you have a safe space to go to. I am also a firm believer that part-time jobs like these help form a range of transferable skills which you do not necessarily build in an academic environment.
I would highly encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and apply for part-time jobs if they felt that they could spare the time during the week. I am aware that there are even plenty of job roles in cafes and bars in Leamington and Coventry for those who live off-campus. Nevertheless, I do not want to pretend that working is not draining because it does take a lot of energy and concentration at times where you may not feel as able to give. My experience has been mixed but overall positive and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have learnt new skills and made money as well as be part of a community in my time here at Warwick.