This week I’m going to be talking about the advantages and disadvantages of having a job at university.
Before I start on the list, I thought I’d give you a quick overview of my experience working whilst at university. In first year I had a Saturday job, in second year I didn’t work until the summer holidays when I worked 2 jobs- one in a bakery that started off as unpaid work experience 2 days a week for my course (then I was kept on as a paid employee) and my other job was weekends in retail. Finally, this year I will be doing this blogging for UCB and going back to the bakery in the holidays. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had a varied experience and so can give reliable advice!
Let’s start with the positive! Now I know money isn’t everything, but in my case, I get £10 a week to live on from my student loan after rent and bills (and I’m one of the lucky ones whose loan actually covers their rent), so it is definitely important. I loved being able to live a little more freely in first year with extra money to spend, and it meant that I had one less thing to worry about. I could go out to dinner with friends, buy nice Christmas/birthday presents and as many Starbucks peppermint hot chocolates as I wanted to! If you are concerned about your financial situation or need some guidance, there is a budget counsellor at UCB that you can go to at student services on the 7th floor of the Summer Row building (or you can call them on 0121 232 2269).
Another advantage is that it gives you valuable experience to build up your CV. If you can get a job that is related to your course/dream graduate job in any way, then that may help your career in the long run. If you can’t, then there are always ways of emphasising the transferability of the skills you learned – for example my retail experience may not have been bakery related but it gave me good communication skills and experience working in a team.
Finally, having a job can add variety to your week. I personally didn’t have the busiest timetable and although I made sure I spent plenty of time on course work outside of uni, sometimes I would get bored and run out of Netflix series to binge watch. Having a job in first year gave me a more diverse week- it got me out of the flat and gave me new people to talk to and interact with.
A word of caution- a disadvantage of having a job at uni is that you have to work much harder on managing your time well. I personally believe that university should be the priority as that is why I’m here in the first place. Linking to that, there’s also the drawback of having less free time. I missed out on a few fun days because I was at work- you’re only at university once (most people are anyway) and it is good to enjoy the time that you have at UCB.
I absolutely love spending time with my family and something that put me off applying for a job in second year was that a lot of student jobs are in retail or restaurants that will want you to be there during Christmas in particular- at some shops you are contractually not allowed to book holiday off at that time! It can be lonely being in your student flat/house alone, especially when you know everyone else is at home.
I hope this has been useful in your decision making, and those of you on the hunt for a job- I wish you all the best in your search!
Until next time,