Working whilst studying at University

Working while at university can seem to be a daunting task for a lot of students. Firstly, where do you even find job? Then how do you manage your University time against your work time without over committing to one or the other? Luckily, Plymouth is a vibrant Student city during term times, which then results in there being plenty of available jobs (not to say that there is a job for everyone!) , while also meaning that these jobs are catered towards the fact that a lot of the work force consists of students who need flexible schedules. In this blog I will give you some tips on how I went about finding a job and discuss how I manage my time so that I can balance both my work life and my student life. 

How I went about finding my own job

1.       Dropped my CV, Everywhere.

This first method I did to find a job was the old tried and tested method of sending your CV to anywhere and everywhere that might have a job that will work for you. I spent a day walking around the rainy old town just looking for application opportunities at the beginning of the year and popped in to drop off an application or a CV. A bit of a long, wet, slog, but it was the way that came through for me in the end. 

2.       Part-Time Job fair.

The second method I used for finding a job was to utilise the fair’s that take place in the Roland Levinsky Building every few weeks and at the beginning of term. It is a place where potential employers are invited to set up stalls on the ground floor of RLB and advertise to students. This was probably the easiest way to speak to lots of employers in one place and to see what Jobs are available and what they require. These fairs offer both seasonal and yearlong part-time work.

2.       Employability Resources around Plymouth University

Personally I limited my use of job finding resources at Plymouth University, to the student job section on the website and to the fairs. I spent time trawling through the listings on the University website, and put in a few applications for jobs at the Students Union. It was an easy to understand process that didn’t take too long either.

How I manage my time

Managing your time as a full time student can be a mammoth sized issue, especially if you’re a student who is working a job at the same time as studying. Here is what I do to manage my time, hopefully you will be able to use some of these as a guide to help you manage yours as well. 

1.       Prioritise!

I’m sure you have heard this one many, many, many times before. I prioritise what I have to do. Study trumps everything. Not just general study, I prioritise different assignments and reading depending on what needs to be done first. In terms of my job, I prioritise any University based work before I pick up any more shifts on top of my ground level of shifts. That is to say, picking up extra work is one of my last priorities. I also have to prioritise my roles as a Student representative and a Campaign Ambassador into the mix as well! (Got myself a very busy year!)

2.       Got myself a student planner

I’m sure we all remember the days in secondary school of having the mandatory planner to write homework in, which you would then have to have signed by parents and teachers each week, proving that you have written things down in them. Really, it’s the same principle. Buy a planner; write down the important dates, due dates, fair dates, start of holidays, and end of holidays.  On a weekly level, write down lectures and shifts. Mould your time around these blocks of time.

3.       Finding extra time

This is more for studying than for fitting in work. I am currently writing this while on a train to London! I use other downtime otherwise spent waiting to simply review notes and go over things.

4.       Try not to procrastinate

We’ve all been there. Assignment is looming, you should have started a week ago, but every time you sit down to start, suddenly you feel committed to cleaning the continuously building mass of dishes. Suddenly this funny picture of a cat playing the keyboard on the internet is the most interesting thing in the world. Either way, I do try to focus; I work in focused areas such as the library or with a group of friends to keep each other on track. I even went as far as installing an extension on chrome which limited access to certain websites… it worked for a while.

5.       Don’t over work

I try to only work a couple of shifts per week.  Working lots is all well and good, but I am at University to study in a field that I really enjoy, I don’t want to be working more than I am studying.

Studying and working doesn’t have to be a daunting task. So as long as you schedule yourself properly and manage your time you should have no issues combining both working and studying!