Working part-time while at university

University life can be hectic. With lectures, seminars and coursework to do, as well as going out, seeing friends and making enough time for hobbies, many students are too busy to even consider a part-time job.

However, lots of students do choose to work part-time alongside their studies, whether that’s because they need some extra cash, or they want to improve their job opportunities for their future career.

So, is it a good idea to get a job while studying? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons…

The benefits of a part-time job

Whilst university is certainly a lot of fun, it can also be expensive. Course costs, study materials, student accommodation fees and food shops can all take their toll on a student’s wallet and one way to give yourself some extra support is by taking on paid work. Luckily, in student cities, there are often lots of part-time jobs for students, from working in one of the many bars, shops or cafés to helping out at the student union. A few shifts here and there add up and you’ll soon have a bit more cash to splash; whether you’re saving up for something or just want a bit of pocket money for the weekends.

Having a part-time job doesn’t just mean you’ll be more financially stable – it also looks great on your CV. If you can demonstrate that you held down a part-time job at the same time as getting a degree, employers will be impressed by your dedication, diligence and time management – plus it’s likely you will have gained key transferable skills.

It looks even better if you manage to snag a part-time job in the field you want to go into in the future – for example, if you’re doing a language degree, having a part-time job on your year abroad will really boost your grasp of the language and make you more employable.

Having a part-time job will also develop your social skills, independence and confidence. Lots of students find good friends in their colleagues, which further enriches their university experience.

Things to consider before working part-time

On the flip-side, some students who take on a part-time job find that university work starts to slide. If you work long hours or have too many shifts, you may find it difficult to get enough study time in, which could result in skipping seminars due to fatigue, not being up-to-date with course reading, or even having to ask for deadline extensions.

Part-time job doesn’t just have a knock-on effect on your studies. Most students unwind after a hard day’s work by seeing friends, watching TV or heading out to student events. If you spend too much time working a part-time job, you may also see an impact on your social life too. It’s important to make enough time for yourself, to de-stress, relax and socialise – after all, this is a key part of university life.

If you let your part-time job take over your life, you are likely to feel tired, irritable and your mental health may suffer as a result. Remember that the main reason you are at university is to get a degree and if a part-time job is going to negatively affect your studies, you need to speak to a personal tutor or student support, who will be able to help you find a solution.


A good work-life balance

When it comes down to it, university is all about balance: ensuring you get all your coursework and essays done, while also making time to relax and hang out with friends to avoid burnout. When you throw a part-time job into the mix this can be more difficult, but by setting boundaries and making sure your tutors are on hand to help if necessary, you’ll be able to have the best of both worlds.