I needed a job whilst I was at uni, not just because I needed the money (which I definitely did) but because as a naturally incredibly lazy person, I needed the structure having a job gives you. My course as uni had very little contact time, so 6 out of 7 days a week I was pretty much free.
Sure I had page after page of journal articles to read and 3000-word essays to write but when you’re as lazy as me and have a year to write an essay, you’re going to do it the night before it’s due to be handed in. That’s why I needed a job.
Having a job gave my time value.
My time was more precious to me – I couldn’t afford to lay in until 11am because I needed to be in the library – without a job I would have constantly told myself I could just pull all-nighters all weekend – fat chance.
So many students claim that they don’t have time for a job, and I’m sure some, such as medical students, won’t be able to fit in a job, since they’ll have to study alongside interning. It’s worth having a long hard look at your schedule and honestly seeing how much free time you have. As long as you leave enough time for applying yourself to your studies and sleeping enough, a job can only help you. Here are a few that are great for students:
1 – Bar work
These are great because you’ll start to really hate clubs, thus you won’t spend your hard-earned cash on vodka shots. It can be hard work, but it’s flexible and won’t clash with lectures. You’ll probably have to work either Friday and Saturday nights, so you won’t be spending money. Bonus! Don’t expect much more than minimum wage, but you could get some tips to supplement that.
2 – Student Union jobs
I don’t know if all unions have these, but at Sheffield you could apply to work for the union, but the actual job you did would vary. My friend did this, and she did bar work, was an usher at Bramall Lane (the Sheffield United ground), worked at the Town Hall and arena and various other things. She got discounts of union events and got to see some awesome football games and gigs. Nice! The pay was pretty good and it’s a great thing to put on your CV, since you learned a variety of skills.
An oldie but a goodie. Wages are pretty sucky but tips can be great, especially in cities. There is almost always extra shifts to pick up and they’re flexible when it comes to going home for Christmas and such – just be transparent and don’t mislead the restaurant about when you’ll be available and how flexible you are.
4- Start a blog
Well, you’ll be sat in front of a computer all day anyway, no? You never know, you may go viral overnight. If you already have a large social media following, you’re halfway there. Get some affiliate links on pinterest and away you go. I highly, HIGHLY recommend starting off with a self-hosted blog – it costs money but only £5 a month or so to begin with. I use Hostgator and although I’ve heard horror stories, I’ve never had an issue. This blog’s been up and running since April, and as far as I’m aware my site’s only been down for 8 minutes in that time.
I used WordPress to build my blog and I love it, but I admit it takes time to get everything sussed – it’s easy to put up a post, but there’s always more to learn in terms of optimisation and the like. Don’t bother with a premium theme until you get some traffic – unless you have a techy friend who’ll code you one for free!
5 – Hotel
My personal job of choice. Hotels are awesome for students to work in for a few reasons:
- They’re flexible. I started out in the banqueting department, which was serving at weddings and parties. If you couldn’t work in the evening you could help set up the room in the morning/afternoon setting the table and polishing glasses etc. I then moved to the restaurant, doing the breakfast shift. Because I could do three shifts a week doing either 5.30-12 or 7-1.30 (which the other people didn’t want to do because it’s too early), I got the most shifts, which suited me fine. I used to pick up extra banqueting shifts if they were short staffed.
- Food. We used to go home with packets of jam and nutella, nutri-grain bars and mini boxes of out of date cocoa pops – it was dreamy. On shift we’d get our pick of the breakfast buffet too. There’s a large population of Pakistani people in Sheffield and they used the hotel for weddings a lot, but provided their own caterers. The caterers used to give us so much curry it’d keep us in food for a week. It was incredible for me because I’m veggie and they’d have four or five types of curry ALL VEGETARIAN.
- Other perks. We got free access to the gym whenever we wanted. The sauna in the changing room was a godsend when the heating in our crappy student house wasn’t working, and since the changing rooms also served the spa, the showers were incredible – hot, powerful and full of fancy soaps.
Obviously at the time I didn’t really think my job was anything other than kind of boring, but I’m grateful of it now. I mean, I wish I’d started my blog then, but realistically I needed more money more quickly than blogging could have provided.
I also wish I’d been more savvy with my money at the time, but it’s a bit late now. I mean, Dior makeup? For a STUDENT? What the hell was I thinking?!
There are a tonne of other jobs out there for students, but these are the ones I’d got for. A lot of my friends worked in call centres because the money was great, but it’s hard, stressful work that I imagine is as frustrating for the caller as it is for the recipient. Nah, we’ll stick to nice jobs.
Have fun and be good