A student work checklist
The prospect of juggling a part-time job with university can be daunting – many courses and universities advise against it. But real life often gets in the way, and well – sometimes you just need to work. So read on for our checklist. We present a few pointers on how to survive & thrive this super important stage in your life.
Budget, how do I love thee?
in the upcoming study year, will you need a job to get by? The only way to figure this out is to create a budget – sorry, not very exciting sounding is it!
For most students a job will be needed. Maintenance Loans barely cover the rent these days, much less your other living costs.
If your course involves a heavier workload, working part time alongside this may cause complications. This could be detrimental to your studies, so be aware it’s not all easy sailing.
We suggest writing up a monthly budget before you even consider a job. You need to review all your expenses now and predicted ones in the future. You can then establish what income you might get. This way you’ll understand what might be left over each month to live on.
You may need more than you imagined or you might need less – it’s essential to have the cold hard figures to start with.
Know Thy schedule
Being uber organised with your calendar is the secret to not missing those all important and sneaky deadlines that loom above your head.
- DO know all the important dates coming up in your course (and social!) calendar – aka assignment deadlines and exam dates
- DO visualize your busy periods and plan around those.
- DON’T work in irregular shifts – it’s so easier to manage your time when you’re working the same days and times each week. However having more regular set shifts can also mean it’s harder to take time off when you need it. It’s a delicate balance.
- DO highlight important deadline periods in advance, you can ask to take time off or swap shifts with other people. Ensure you give everyone involved lots of warning.
Become a productivity ninja
One of the best things about taking on part-time work during university is that it forces you to become super productive with your time. You’ll find that the less time you have, the more you get done and this gives you so much more focus. It’s a tricky but super useful life skill. You won’t believe the impact it will have on your work/uni/life balance once you change how you use your time. Apps can be your friend here – we like Todoist, your calendar and Trello for this.
School’s Out for Summer
There’s barely a bad side to getting a Summer job. You’ll be able to really put in lots of hours over Summer, stay out of trouble, spend less… and also potentially not have any rent to pay if you’re back with your parents, so you should be able to save a chunk over the uni Summer break.
Do you need cash to help you through term, or is it more important to get useful experience for after you graduate? If so you can get career experience by taking on an internship – not always paid, but could lead to something in the future and give you valuable experience.
See what works for you, it may not be what everyone else is doing.
Remember to take time for YOU and not work too crazy, see your friends and live life, whilst still keeping finances in check with a job.
Do not over commit yourself
How many hours you decide to work depends on how much you can realistically take on and what’s involved in your course.
In some unis students can’t work during term time, others recommend limiting work to 10 hours per week. However, some manage 15–20 hours easily, so your mileage may vary.
The key is to take time to really think about how much time you’re able to put in before making any commitments – it’s much harder to go back once you’ve said yes, so take your time with this one .Are you willing to work weekends? Do you only want to work mid-week, and which days can’t you do due to uni commitments? Also, how long do the shifts at your workplace tend to be?
If they’re short, this can actually have a more negative impact on your studies than you might think. Doing four 4-hour shifts a week will take up more of your time than 2 x 8-hour shifts by the time you factor in travel time/costs etc.
Have a good think about what you’re ready and able to do – never take on more than you think you can handle.
Avoid stress & keep the sleep in check
If you are finding you cannot cope, you must be able to share this with someone – a friend, a colleague, family member or even teacher.
Ensure you can cope with your workload at uni plus any work shifts, and still have time for fun.
When you’re juggling coursework, lectures, a part-time job and social life, it’s easy to think sleep can be cut back to fit everything in. Getting the recommended 8 hours shut-eye every night is critical for performance and your health. If you don’t sleep enough, you’ll soon notice everything start to slip. Naturally there’ll be nights where this’ll go amiss, but make sure it doesn’t happen more than a couple of times a week. Sleep deprivation is no joke, so we hope you get some precious restorative shut eye to get through your week.
We hope you have found these topics useful and they’ll give you food for thought. Remember if you would like to save on rent during uni, we of course recommend swapping your home room for a room near uni. Register today for FREE.
Here’s to your Summer term and it bringing you much success but also many memories and friendships along the way.