Surviving university isn’t always easy. There are new friends, society duties, and looming deadlines. And don’t forget about that massive pile of dirty clothes that need washing!
Things can get even trickier when you take on a part-time job. This might be for the extra cash or industry experience. It could be a favour to a friend or family member. If you’re studying overseas, it might be that you want to get more involved in the local culture and learn the language quicker. Or it could just be that you like to work!
Whatever the reason, managing a job alongside University can be challenging. But panic no more. Here are five ways to that you can make things easier on yourself. They include speaking to both your manager at work and your University professors. They also address improving the quality of your essays and the length of your commute. Finally, there is an alternative course of action you might want to consider taking.
Surviving uni and a part time job will become a doddle in no time… just read on.
Speak to your manager
It’s really important to let your manager at work know that you are a University student. The great thing about Uni is that you get a timetable at the start of each term. This means you know exactly which days you’ll need off work, and which days you can work, for the next few months. Be clear that you won’t be prepared to skip classes. Your manager should never expect you to, or pressure you either. The manager can then schedule you to work on your free days, in the evenings or on weekends. Appease them by saying you will work when you have holidays and breaks.
Speak to your professors
This one is even more important than speaking to your manager. Also, talk to each of your professors. You might also want to speak to the head of your departments. Let each of them know that you are working a part-time job. Explain the reason. Everybody knows how expensive University is, and they will understand if you are doing it because you need the money. Similarly, if you are working for the career experience, be honest about it. While University is important in securing a dream job, so is industry experience.
It is highly likely that your professors won’t just understand, they will also sympathise. Let them know that you have no plans to fall behind on their work, but you’re just letting them know as a courtesy. They’ll appreciate and respect your forward-thinking, maturity and work ethic.
Get help with your essays
If you are struggling to complete your essays to the best of your ability because of work, speak to your professor. After all, they are there to help you. Explain that you need to have a job, but still want to excel in your work for their class. They might be able to give you private 1-to-1 sessions, and some tailored help. Similarly, and on occasion, an essay extension will be available. However, be careful not to ask for these too often. If your professors feels like it, they can refuse.
You can also find help online, with essay writing services. These can help you with lots of different types of essays.
It is also likely that your university will have a careers centre. Here, professionals can help you will your essays. Get together with your friends, too. Sometimes just discussing an essay topic can get your creative juices flowing.
Reconsider your transport
Are you spending more hours on the bus to work than you are at work? Then it could be time to reconsider your transport!
Taxis might be more expensive, sure. But if they mean a shorter journey, you have the time to work more hours and earn more money. In some places, you can only reach a place via two bus journeys that take over an hour. However, you could make the exact same journey in just twenty minutes in a taxi.
One option is to speak to a local taxi company and set up a deal. They might agree to give you a slightly reduced rate if you hire them for work two or three days a week, at the same times. Alternatively, consider whether or not there is a train you could catch, or if cycling is an option. You could also put up signs around campus, asking if anybody wants to share a taxi fare on your work days. You might even find someone gets in touch who drives in at the same times each week. That way you can split petrol.
By reducing your commuting time, you’re increasing the amount of time you have free to either work or recharge your batteries. If you still need the push to make a change, read this article. “Longer commuters may be killing us; shorten yours by 20 minutes to save your health.”
Take out a loan
This option is slightly outside of the box. However, if your sole reason for working a part-time job is that you need to money, it could be worth considering.
It is preferable that you earn your own money, and don’t loan it out. However, it could be that working is having too much of a negative effect on your University work and quality of life. If it is tiring you out, or distracting you, this could be the case. If it is, working is actually doing more harm than good. University is a time to learn, and you should be making the most of that opportunity.
This is why student loans are so fantastic. As long as you are enrolled full-time at University, you are probably eligible. They have low-interest rates, and you don’t have to start paying anything back until after you graduate.
When you do graduate, then you can focus on earning money. But for now, if it is truly impinging your ability to learn at University, a loan might be a sensible option.