All the best way to manage studying and working part time as a Notts student

Sometimes the maintenance loan just doesn’t cover it

When I came to Uni, getting a part-time job eventually was always my plan and for a lot of students it is the reality of going to university, as the maintenance rarely covers accommodation never mind bills and other food costs. With the cost of living crisis affecting all of us, there are more and more students getting part-time jobs while studying here in Nottingham, commonly in the hospitality sector.

Work and study are two things that can be very easily  balanced and you can make the most of both. It does take a little bit of adjustment to be able to fit a job alongside your studies and social life and it’s important to be able to make the most out of university life and not be left behind your friendship group just because of your commitments. These are all the way I got through my degree with a bit of extra money and no added stress:

Priorities your studies

This is one that is obvious. At the end of the day, you are here primarily to study, so put your degree first. If possible, take some time off before big exams or deadlines if you need extra time to grind, and don’t actively pick up shifts if they coincide with contact hours. Your degree is your main focus and your schedule should reflect this.

 Be savvy with your paychecks

Whilst getting a lump sum from your job is a joy, it can be easy to spend it all at once on payday, usually on one or two  rounds of tequila the next time you go to Ocean. Budget and spend it wisely. Keep anything you need for bills to once side immediately and put any extra  money in savings, to spend on things I really want in the long term.

But that aside, it doesn’t hurt to in moderation treat yourself. You’ve been working so hard after all.

Flexible schedules will be your best friend

During first year I worked a job with set hours for the first part of the year, and then switched to a job where you pick up suitable shifts a week in advance. Both have pros in terms of stability and knowing exact hours weeks and weeks ahead of schedule. But for those who appreciate flexibility and spontaneity  it means if you have a mate’s birthday or plans you don’t want to miss, you can just not work on that day. Flexible schedules will also allow you to take the time out during exam seasons to prioritise your work.

Befriend your colleagues

In a city like Nottingham, anywhere hiring students will have a couple, so you’ll easily find someone who gets what it’s like to work alongside your studies. Having work friends makes work so much more enjoyable and having someone to talk to during your shift will make it go so much quicker. It’s a great way to socialise and make money at the same time and if you’re lucky enough they may become friends outside of work too, and you’ll always have the fun work Christmas parties to look forward to.

Prioritise your mental health

Yes, not all jobs are going to be the most fun thing in the world, but there is a line. A job making you actively unhappy and stressed is not worth it. Prioritise your mental health and ability to study properly and look for changes that can be made to make you feel better about it. If the job is fundamentally making you unhappy and your manager can’t do anything to make it any better it might be time to look for a new one. There will be other jobs, but you need to prioritise yourself and your mental health first.

Be willing to make compromises

Whilst flexibility is great so you don’t have to miss all the big events, sometimes you may have to make some compromises, however begrudgingly. My old job was always on a Tuesday night, which meant I could never go to a bonkers bingo when all my house went. I’ve missed a few socials. Yet these are never one time events, and sometimes it has to be done. There will always be more occasions to spend time with your friends and that extra shift here and there could really help in the long run.

Take time for yourself

This one is so important. Combining work with an already super busy student lifestyle is literally a recipe for burnout if you’re not careful- especially if you combine it with other commitments, such as societies. So make sure to not overwork yourself and only take on as much as you can handle.  Take time for yourself to do what makes you happy, whether thats going out for a nice meal, a quiet night in with your housemates or going to the gym.


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