Working part-time at University
At University, I’ve met a real mixture of people who do or don’t opt to work part-time alongside their studies. Of course, this naturally depends upon your personal situation, as well as your course contact hours and the amount of free time you find yourself having. For me personally, I decided from the second term of my First Year that I definitely needed a job, both to help support myself at University, as well as to be able to afford to do some travel during the summers. I’m now in my Third Year and have been working part-time ever since, so I thought I’d share a bit about my experience and give a little bit of advice.
Why I decided to work part-time…
I decided I was going to get a part-time job because it became clear to me I was going to need a bit of extra money to help support myself, as well as wanting to get together some extra money to be able to travel during my summers. Aside from the money, its also really nice to keep busy outside of your course and fill your time with things to do, and it’s also a great opportunity to meet other groups of people. Currently, I work as a Sales Advisor, as well as being a University PAIS ambassador and Study Happy Ambassador, and a PAIS blogger. I’ve really been trying to do the most amount of work I can do this year (without compromising my studies), to get money together to travel following my graduation this summer.
Going home for Christmas & Easter holidays…
One of the things that makes working at University slightly difficult is if you’re going to want to be heading home when it’s not term time. It’s not that easy to find places that are flexible and ok with you going home over breaks like Christmas and Easter, but there definitely are places that will accommodate this. As I live almost 5 hours away from University, it was essential to me that I would be able to pop home for a few weeks from time to time, and this is definitely something you need to make clear to your potential employer as soon as possible. I clearly stated on my CV that I would only be available during university term time, and discussed at any interviews that I would need to have time at home, meaning I would never be able to do anything like the Christmas time hours many jobs require. I’d say definitely make sure to have this conversation as early as possible so everything’s clear and you don’t end up getting messed around.
Deciding how many hours to work…
Make sure you’re super clear on the hours you can and can’t do, and that just because you might not have any lectures or seminars on a certain day or time, doesn’t mean you can always be working. In my first job in Leamington, I was on a 4 hour contract but was being given 24 hours on a week where I had exams because they had a sale on. I’m definitely guilty of always saying yes, but it’s important to set out from the beginning that although you may be very flexible, University still has to be the priority and if you have deadlines and exams, your availability will change. Sometimes i’m more than happy to work 16+ hours, but others I don’t want to be working much more than 4/8 because I’ve got a lot more going on.
Opportunities to work for the University
Working for the University is a GREAT option, and I wish i’d discovered this before my final year. It’s flexible, well paid and they’re obviously accommodating of your academic commitments, as well as being based in the term-time usually. This year, I worked the University’s ‘Welcome Week’, which consisted of helping with events and giving campus tours, amongst many other things, and it meant I’d already earned a few hundred pounds before University had even properly started. As well as having worked a couple of open days since then, I am also now a PAIS ambassador and will hopefully be helping with some of the upcoming offer holder days, as well as being a PAIS blogger. I also now work as a Study Happy ambassador, helping with events that aim to improve student wellbeing and give them a break from their studies (it really doesn’t feel like work when you’re helping with events such as PAT dogs or putting on cat cafes). I’d 100% recommend looking out for jobs at the university, whether than be through the SU website or through Unitemps, which is great for both permanent roles and Ad Hoc opportunities. It’s also a good idea to keep your eyes pealed for opportunities within your department, as they’re often looking for new ambassadors each year.
Would I recommend working part-time?
I’d 100% recommend it. As well as the money, it gives you more work experience and things to add to your CV, as well as being a way to meet lots of new people and keep yourself busy. Of course, it depends on how demanding you’re finding your course, but I think even taking up some of the ad hoc opportunities you can get through the university is a great idea.