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Jobs whilst you are a student
Member Name: Morgenhund
Jobs whilst you are a student
Date: 09/08/01, updated on 09/08/01 (110 review reads)
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It was John Cleese, in his Rectorial address following his installation as Lord Rector of St Andrews University, who said “Don’t let University get in the way of your education”. He was making a very valid point, that there is a lot more to your time are University than merely academically working for 3-6 years. Similarly though how much should work get in the way of your studies though?
Due to the progressive cutbacks on students in terms of grants and money, and with more onus on parents providing for their offspring, many students have found it necessary to get a part time job, or in some cases a full time job in order to be able to survive University. I consider myself very fortunate to have not had to work as well as doing my degree, as I noticed that a lot of my friends who were dong a job ultimately were sacrificing their studies in the process.
I freely admit that I didn’t live like a pauper at University, but nor was I bankrolled through University by my parents. I realised, after spending two summers doing lowly remunerated jobs in England, being, amongst other things, a tomato picker, a rotten egg smasher and a plant packer for a mail order company. I found that working in these jobs kept me through the summer, on minimal expenses, but it didn’t help to set me up for the forthcoming academic session. I also realised that the sacrifices of working hard during the summer also meant that I wasn't confined to an existence of culinary misery unlike some of my friends, and I probably stayed healthier than those who scrimped and saved and worried their way through it all.
Therefore after my third year, spent in Austria working as a language assistant, and being paid a fairly ludicrous amount for relative little work, and with the opportunity to earn more by private tuition I realised that for the next two years of my degree, which were ultimately the two which were to be the make or break ones, I wou
ld have to get a buffer of cash on, especially having heard about flatmates and their woes of dissertations and working, as after all no one will accommodate your academic commitments that fully if you want to work for them.
Therefore I went out to Brussels and was somewhat of a corporate whore – the summer student who was doing a 60 hour week – and a 40 hour weekend. This concentrated work allowed me to have no money worries for the first half of the year, although my overdraft did snowball rapidly during the second semester. I did the same after my fourth year, and was able to live a similar lifestyle during my fifth year, although a three week cricket tour of Barbados did leave my final semester a banking nightmare.
This might appear to be rambling and getting nowhere – however to put it all in context, I had friends who worked long hours to avoid getting an overdraft – but at the detriment of their courses. Many I knew who worked ended up with worse degree results, and if anything stressful times for everyone were like normal times were for them – and they buckled under the strain often of the added stress. In Austria many of my friends who study also do a job, and it is probably the reason why they are always failing exams, retaking semesters and taking an eternity over their degrees.
If the thought of hardship is one that scares you, think of the fact that a degree classification higher can add a lot onto your salary, marketability etc. Whilst I am still technically unemployed, being a freelance translator (although I can earn an incredible amount (e.g. £3000 some months)), and would admit that I am getting tired of the limited budget that I have to live off on other months, due to the debts I left with, I am still in a better position than some are, due to the fact that they devoted too much time to their work and not their studies. Getting a job may not be the panacea for being financially worry fre
e that you may think, a job can affect you in other ways such as your academic performance and can be counter-productive in the end. If you can survive without one do, as often or not, the amount you will earn will never be saved, and will just go in other directions.