The pros and cons of student jobs

According to a survey conducted by Endsleigh, around 60% of students work part-time to help cover the costs of university living. When people ask me what I do, sometimes studying comes as a bit of an afterthought. As an English and Journalism and Creative Writing student, my actual university contact hours are minimal, averaging around five or six per week, meaning that I’ve been able to work between 16 and 25 hours a week during term time over the year and a half that I’ve been at university, and even more hours during university holidays.

The first obvious bonus of having a part-time job is the extra cash that comes with it. Whilst most student jobs pay a pitiful minimum wage (£5.60 an hour for those of us under 21 and £7.05 for 21-25 year olds), the hours definitely do add up. In addition, having to work often means being able to go out less and saving money on socialising, especially over weekends when going out is more expensive anyway – my Friday nights consist of sitting with my flatmates and friends in my pyjamas whilst they pre-drink, then heading straight to bed when they go out to spend money so I’m well rested and not hungover for my 8.30-6 on Saturdays.

Of course, jobs don’t run to university term times and most students take jobs in service industries which all tend to get much more hectic during the “holidays”. In addition, many employers ask part-time staff to work extra hours over the holiday period as restaurants, bars, and shops become busier. This means that while students who don’t have jobs are enjoying a month off university back in their hometown, catching up with their family and school friends, the rest of us were maybe lucky enough to spend a couple of days over Christmas with our families before heading straight back into Glasgow for work.

Despite this, having a job comes with many roles and responsibilities you wouldn’t otherwise have. As my course has so few contact hours, my job also helps me to stay in a routine. I’m no stranger to skipping the occasional (or not so occasional) early morning lecture, however if I was to fail to turn up to work on time as consistently as I do to my classes, it would most likely get me fired. Many graduate employers also look more favourably upon students who have worked throughout their studies.

To conclude, even though we miss having proper weekends and holidays, I think most of us who have jobs would agree that having extra income and developing real life skills definitely outweigh the cons that come with being an employed student, even if part-time.

By Rebecca Cowie