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How to balance a part-time job with university

The cost of living for students has rocketed over the past few years; since UK Guarantor first started, we have seen prices for every aspect of student living increase. From accommodation to university fees, millennials pay more for their education. One survey has shown that as many as 76% of students rely on a part-time job and more than half of these students spend their additional income on necessities 

A part-time job is useful way to support you financially while you study. Not all students can – or want to – rely on the bank of mum and dad. However, juggling work, university and a social life isn’t straightforward. UK Guarantor have asked their student team for their advice on how to master the balancing act: 

Choose work that suits you 

First stop: your Student Union’s Job Shop. Finding work through your university’s services means that at all roles will pay at least the National Minimum Wage and are suitable for students – check out the Careers page on your university’s website. Other useful websites include e4sStudent Job and Save the Student! Think about what work will suit your timetable and lifestyle – retail and hospitality generally offers flexible working hours but might mean late finishes. Tutoring may seem ideal and well paid by the hour – but consider that lessons necessitate planning and travel.  

Staying organised 

Staying on top of your commitments requires planning. Know your deadlines and key social events as far as possible in advance. Whatever you prefer – diaries, to-do lists, planners or phone alerts – make sure you’re on top of everything. Having a written record will help you predict busy periods. At postgraduate level – watch out! The combination of fewer deadlines and higher workload can easily catch you off guard. Most importantly, whatever level of study you are at, don’t start your essays at the last minute! 

Priorities 

Your studies must always come first. Boundaries are essential for ensuring that you don’t sacrifice classes for cash. Make it clear to your employer (and yourself!) how many hours a week you want to work. Most universities recommend maximum fifteen hours a week and some universities even prohibit students taking on paid work during term time. If you ever need a little motivation to go to class, use this calculator to find out how much your university costs by the hour! 

Communication: Talk it out 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to the people who matter. Be honest with your boss about realistic working hours: make your availability and other commitments clear. It will be inevitable that at times your studies need to take precedence over your work. If you work regular times, give your employer as much notice as possible and try find a solution. If you can’t afford to negotiate time off work, get in touch with your university – seek advice from tutors or Student Unions. Most universities have a counselling service and in extreme circumstances deadlines can be extended. 

 

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