You’re not doing uni properly if you don’t also have a job

Please don’t moan about your workload

job selly oak student the tab brum

It’s loan day and you feel like an absolute baller. You’re splashing the cash, getting the rounds in and treating yourself to a whole new wardrobe just because you can. 

But get to reading week and you’re on Pot Noodle instead of Prosecco. Your bank balance is dire, and you’ve got a good few months until loan day comes round again.

Getting a job while you’re at uni is a contentious topic. If you make it to Oxbridge, you’re banned from working part-time because it distracts from your studies, but for the rest of us – like Charmaine Lloyd – working for a degree and a pay check are a necessity.

Charmaine works in a betting shop, and even though it’s a fairly relaxed job, she struggles to get all her reading done because she often won’t finish until late. She told The Tab: “I get paid a good wage and they’re flexible with uni because they give me the days off that I need to go in. But sometimes I’ll have to work until 10pm and I won’t be home until 11:30pm, by which time I’m too tired to sit and look at coursework and read text books, which obviously affects my uni work.”

Can you balance uni work and a part-time job?

Can you balance uni work and a part-time job?

She added: “My attention span has shortened since getting the job I have. It’s a force of habit at work I don’t have to really pay too much attention to the things I do, they just come naturally. So now when I’m in lectures I find it hard to concentrate on what is being said.”

But Charmaine ensures she always puts her uni work first, and is thankful her employers understand how important she is. She said: “Make sure the job you’re applying for is flexible and it caters for you. Don’t shy away from anything you need to inform your employers. If you need an extra day off to study, say it.”

Final year Ciara Tomlinson has a job with the University, who obviously understand the need for uni work/work work balance. She only started over summer, but the English finalist is adamant the experience will set her up for when she graduates next summer, and stresses the importance of building your CV while you’re a student.

She said: “I work as an Alumni Relations Assistant at uni, which is all about maintaining a relationship between the university, its current students and alumni. I only started my job over the summer, but even though I haven’t been doing it long, I really love my job so far. I was super excited to start it because it’s the first job I’ve had that could possibly be career-facing.

“The only thing I dislike so far is that I’m always sat at a desk so I feel super lazy – especially because the biscuits are kept right behind my desk. The idea of balancing work with uni seems really daunting, but at this point I’m really committed to working for my future, so I’m just going to give it my all and make things work. I might miss the odd Stuesdays, but I prefer Propaganda on Fridays anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”

Bobbie-Ann Jones is also slaving away at work while studying at uni with the hope it will pay off in the future. She told The Tab: “I’ve delivered Pure-Gym leaflets, worked at a tuition centre for children teaching English and Maths, worked in the main library and I’m currently an exam invigilator and Welcome Week crew assistant.

“Although quite a lot of these jobs are monotonous, it’s good experience as it gives you a good work ethic and you can get cash too. This king of work ethic is beneficial for after uni because you will really hunt for your dream career. Working develops your confidence and makes you more independent, as well as getting a good CV. It shows employers you are good at balancing your workload too.”


A lot of students like Katie (pictured) work in the club environment

Promoting is another appealing avenue for those who want to work hard and play hard. Classical Literature and Civilisation student Katie O’Rourke works FOUR jobs, and loves her job at Mechu because she still gets to go out after.

She told The Tab: “At Mechu I love working in nightlife because you get to go out once your shift finishes, and it’s a really social and fun job to do. The promotion side of it on Facebook people find very very annoying, but at the end of the day I’m earning a good amount of money.

“I also work at Boots, Hollister and as a student ambassador. They all end up being at different times, so student ambassador work is generally late first term and second, and only on Wednesdays. Mechu is just every Thursday night and promotional work as and when I can get on Facebook. Boots I tend to do during holidays so I can just do full time, and Hollister I work as and when I have the time to because of the flexibility of the shifts.”