Working as a student may look like a superhuman feat to some people. I know, because I was one of those thinking that. “How the heck do they even find the time?!” my young mind would wonder. But with age comes experience along with the back pains. And experience lets me advise many youngsters that getting work experience as soon as possible is really beneficial. Not only do you get to experience a whole new world outside of academia, you’d be paid for it as well!
Inspiration for this topic
I got the inspiration for this post from my sister. One day I suddenly had my curiosity sparked and asked her, “Hey, how does your Uni allowance cover your petrol, shopping online and hangout with friends?”
In a deadpan voice she replies, “I don’t use the allowance.”
“Wha-?!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. When I was a uni student, I was one microwave meal away from youthful bankruptcy! “Where do you get the money then?”
“From working at [part time job place],” she said. “I don’t even touch the uni allowance.”
And with that, my mind was blown.
Lost chance to work as a Uni student
After my lapse in financial judgement as a student, I continued on to postgraduate studies. To my utter surprise, the so-called “taught” course only had Thursdays and Fridays scheduled. What about the rest of the week? Well, it was meant to be for self-study but I wanted to use it for something else. “I should work as a bartender,” I thought. But after a bit of mulling over the idea, I gave up on it. Instead, I sunk my time playing League of Legends which, looking back, makes me want to smack myself.
This is one of the little regrets I have of my student times. I could’ve earned a couple of £’s and possibly learned to make some awesome cocktails but alas, all I did was start and burn out my lacklustre gaming “career”. Should haves and would haves aside, I can still learn those things but it’s the lost time that pisses me off. But I digress! Hopefully, if my story is worth anything, it’s to let you know that “if you want to work part time, go for it!”
Working as a student: Before and During
Before you jump on the working class bandwagon, you need to be realistic with your time and goals. Being a student is no easy task; heck, it’s like a job in itself! So taking up a part time work is basically doing double jobs! Do take these things into consideration:
Time is critical when working as a student because you have to juggle work and study. It’s an even bigger feat when you want to have time for friends and family too! If you have full day classes and then work during evenings, you will likely have no time for family, friends and personal hobbies. If you got time to spare, of course, go for it!
Again, with busy days everyday, you’re more likely to burn out if you don’t pace yourself and your shifts. Burning out will deteriorate your performance: both in studies and at work. This leads to bad results and that’s really counterproductive.
Are you working just to earn extra pocket money? I know I did when I chased the money while waiting for A’Level results. Nothing wrong with that but once the novelty runs out, you’ll be in for a draggy ride. But most importantly, don’t build bad work ethics especially when you’re new to the workforce. You’re doing yourself no favours if you’re setting yourself up to be crap later on.
I only recommend doing part time work if the students can already cope with schoolwork. If you couldn’t handle studying on its own, adding work to it is a recipe for poor performance. Even if you’re not planning on continuing your studies, doing the best you can at the current level definitely wouldn’t hurt down the road.
Benefits of working as a student
I guess it goes without saying that there are a myriad of benefits that comes with working earlier than your peers. Not going to play it down too; there will be stress involved from time to time depending on the employer but ultimately, work stress isn’t 100% avoidable. However, even with the drawbacks, stress and tiredness, you just have so much to gain from this!
1. Building work ethics
If this is your first taste of employment, then tread carefully. The work ethics you build from here is kind of like a foundation for the future. You’ll look back to these times to tackle similar problems so if you’re a slacker here, who’s to say you won’t be later on? Take it easy, observe and learn from how your colleagues work. Do you like how they do things? No? Make a mental note and do it another way.
It’s become somewhat of a meme nowadays that you need “5 years experience” for an entry level position. Well, here’s your chance to gain experience by working as a student. Relevant or not depends on how you spin your experience during the interview. You could be stocking shelves with Durex for 3 months and yet say you’re “part of a logistics team monitoring and managing stock levels”.
Come on, no one wants to work for free. Well, unless you’re me and writing articles for free… All in a day’s work for my dear Readers! But seriously though, the main reason most people get a job is to earn income to buy stuff they want. So even if your goal wasn’t the money, it’s a nice little added benefit.
4. Networking/Making contacts
We’ve probably heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” at certain points in our lives. This is very true and I guess the saying doesn’t do its importance enough justice. Knowing people is one of the hacks of the real world; the more people you’re acquainted with, the easier it is to get things done. It may not need to be a professional relationship; just being friendly will suffice. This is because people are the ones who have leads to opportunities and the less you know, the less opportunities are open to you. Meeting people while working as a student will give you this leg up.
You will learn many more skills than you would just hitting the books. Skills like communications, time management, teamwork and so on will be useful and transferable to many things you may undertake. Similar to work ethics, take it easy, observe and learn from your colleagues.
Youngsters and young adults are starting to be more aware of how competitive the real world is. By working as a student, you gain experience that puts you ahead of the competition. Not only that, you get some nice cash on the side to spend. But be warned: working as a student is like having 2 jobs. You’ll have to be smart enough to manage your shifts and studies so that you don’t burn out and do badly for both.
Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.
– Dwayne Johnson