Balancing a Part Time Job with College

Now that you’ve settled into college life, you may be thinking of getting a part time job in your free time. Having a job can provide you with some extra spending money as well as a whole range of valuable opportunities:

Independence

Your first job will give you new found independence. You’ve probably relied on family for financial support until now, so earning money of your own means you can take some responsibility for yourself. Learning how to budget your wages is a vital life skill and understanding the value of money will set you up well for the future. Whether you want to treat your mum on her birthday or help out by paying your own phone bill, a gesture to show you appreciate your parents and want to give something back will feel rewarding and earn you brownie points. It’s also fulfilling getting out of the house and having something of your own to do.

Time Management

If you’re balancing college with a job, time management is hugely important. Being late for lessons may get you in trouble with your teacher, but lateness at work may result in the sack! You’ll need to prioritise your studies without compromising your work. If your employer is aware you’re a student, they’ll understand you need enough time to study. Commit to a reasonable number of hours per week (one weekend day is a good start) and try to stick to a regular schedule to make planning your time easier. Don’t overwork yourself, it’s important to strike the right balance between work and college to ensure you’re most efficient and successful in both.

Experience

Working from a young age allows you to build up experience which can be an advantage over of your peers when it comes to job applications in the future. You’ll have something to add to your CV and will be more comfortable in interviews. The most common part time jobs for young people are based in retail and the food industry, but it doesn’t matter if the job doesn’t relate to your future career aspirations. Employers will be impressed that you’ve made an effort to find work rather than just spending your free time watching TV. You’ll also develop a strong work ethic and a positive attitude to working towards your goals.

Social Skills & New Friends

A part time job is the perfect opportunity to meet new people from different backgrounds to yours. You’ll make friends who you otherwise might never have met and expand your social circles. Not to mention, networking and building contacts in different areas is always beneficial. Working in a professional capacity alongside older people means you’ll need to act more maturely and see the world from other points of view. If you’re shy or lack confidence, a public facing role is a great opportunity to practice talking to new people and improve your professional manner. This is the ideal time for personal development and growing up before progressing to university, an apprenticeship or full time job.

Keep it Healthy

While having a part time job is possible and beneficial for some students, it’s essential to prioritise yourself and your health – both physical and mental. If you do choose to work while studying, be sure to allow enough free time to relax and enjoy yourself. The job may be important now, but achieving your best possible grades will help you for life. If you’re exhausted or find the pressure too much, talk to your boss, a careers adviser or pastoral support tutor. Furthermore, if you’re not able to work for any reason, don’t feel guilty or embarrassed – that’s okay, too!