Is getting a part-time job at uni the right choice for you?

Is getting a part-time job at uni the right choice for you?

University life is a time for learning, personal growth, and making lifelong friends. But it also comes with its challenges, particularly financial ones.
One common solution students consider is getting a part-time job. But is it the right choice for you?
Let's explore the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

The benefits of having a part-time job

A part-time role can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Here are 4 reasons why you might consider employment at uni:

Financial independence. One of the most obvious benefits is earning your own money. This can help cover tuition fees, textbooks, living expenses, and leisure activities. For many students, this financial independence is empowering and necessary.

Learn new skills. Getting a part-time job allows you to develop new skills. In particular, balancing employment and studies encourages you to advance your time management skills. Other soft skills you’ll have the chance to develop include communication, teamwork and problem-solving – all highly valued by employers across various industries.

Work experience. Having work experience on your resume can make you more attractive to future employers; it shows that you can handle responsibility and possess practical skills beyond academic knowledge.

Networking opportunities. A part-time job can offer networking opportunities that might benefit your future career after graduation. Whether you're working in retail, hospitality, or an industry related to your field of study, you might have the chance to build valuable connections.

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Potential downsides

When pursuing part-time employment at university, there are some potential downsides you have to consider:

Time constraints. Perhaps the most important thing for students to consider is the time commitment to getting a part-time job. Even if you’re offered some flexibility around shift patterns, working while studying can significantly reduce your free time. Not only can this harm your academic performance, but it could also impact your social life.

Physical and mental exhaustion. Juggling work and study can be exhausting. Typical student jobs like waiting or working in retail generally involve long hours on your feet or late-night shifts – both of which can take a toll on your physical and mental health. If you’re unable to manage your time, taking on this added responsibility effectively could lead to burnout.

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Losing ‘the university experience’. After graduating from university, you’ll likely be employed for the next 40-50 years. While the extra cash at the end of each month can certainly go a long way, you will need to consider whether or not you’re willing to compromise your university experience and everything that comes with it to work some extra shifts.

Questions to ask yourself

Before deciding to take on a part-time job, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I need the extra money, or can I manage my finances?
  • Am I good at managing my time, and can I handle multiple responsibilities without compromising my studies?
  • Will the job provide experience relevant to my career goals?
  • How much time am I willing to dedicate to work each week?

Balancing work and study

If you choose a part-time job, here are some tips to help you balance work and study effectively. Firstly, you will need to get into the habit of prioritising your tasks. Make a list of your priorities – covering academia, extracurricular and professional commitments – and stick to it, ensuring that your studies always come first. To help with this, you might find it useful to create a schedule and plan your week by allocating specific times for studying, working, and relaxation.

On top of this, you must communicate with your employer and be upfront about academic commitments. Where possible, look for roles that offer flexible hours to make it easier for you to take care of yourself and your responsibilities.

Do what’s right for you

Getting a part-time job while at university can be both rewarding and challenging. It offers financial benefits, valuable skills, and work experience but requires careful time management to avoid negative impacts on your studies and social life. By weighing the pros and cons and asking yourself some critical questions, you can make an informed decision that’s right for you.

Author bio: Harry Thomas

Currently studying a postgraduate degree in Creative Writing, Harry regularly contributes to his university’s student magazine. Having worked part-time in various roles throughout his education, Harry advocates student employment and is keen to share his experience with his peers.

Written by
Content Team
The Hallbookers in-house content creation team.