Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Balancing Part-Time Work and Studies // University Life


Prioritise

One of my biggest pieces of advice is to hoard your work holidays for the exam period. You will need that time off to revise, especially if you have long hours at work. You will have more of a chance to revise and you also need to rest and conserve your energy for studying! Taking time off during exams is such a lifesaver, and I would rather have those dates off than just a random weekend chilling in the middle of the semester.

Don't take on too much! Obviously, your set hours are a bit hard to control so what I mean is don't take too much overtime on if you don't have the energy. Also, always prioritise assignments over overtime. Yes, the extra money is nice, but you also need to focus on the reason you are in university and really focus on your assignments.

Shift Patterns

Ah yes, the dreaded decision. Evenings or weekends? Well, I have tried both, and I have even worked late night shifts. I have found that weekend work is so much more manageable than evening work. You can dedicate your weekdays to university and weekends to work in a nice division of time. I am not thinking about my weekday job in university and I focus on my studies in the evenings. When I am in work at the weekends, I get to take a break from university for a while and it really takes my mind off the goings on of the week.

If you can, I would also go for set shifts. I had a shift pattern which changed weekly when I worked in fast food. It was disrupting my weeks and making it difficult to make any plans. I told my boss that I was thinking of quitting due to the job's effects on my studies and my mental health and I ended up with a set shift. All I had to do was ask.

Energy

It's not just the hours you work and when you work them. It's about making sure that you are not burning yourself out during the course of the week. When you overwork yourself and tire yourself out, that's when your grades may fall or you may not be as social as you want. I know it's easier said than done (especially when you need to work long hours to keep yourself financially secure) but please don't burn yourself out! University is supposed to be enjoyable and a great experience, and this can be hindered by being exhausted all the time.

Photo by Lauren Kay on Unsplash

Distance

I would recommend applying to part time jobs within walking distance of where you live or study. Last year, I was able to walk to work in under 15 minutes, whereas this year I changed jobs and now I have to take the bus. Believe me, the bus money really adds up and I hate how much I spend on transport to and from work! As a student, being able to cut down on these costs is so necessary and needed. If you cycle, this would also be a great alternative to paying for transport to and from work.

If your job is near your uni, it can mean that you are able to go to the library before or after work and get some extra study time in around your job. Every moment of study counts and being able to easily nip into the library is a great chance to get some work done!

Envy

Finally, while some of us have to work part-time, many do not. It is not helpful or healthy to envy the people who do not have to work part-time alongside their studies. I am sure that given the chance we would just focus on our studies and not work, however there are things that we just cannot help. Envying others is not the way to go. Just embrace the opportunities which you are getting from your part-time job!

What work/study balance advice would you give?x

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