Balancing Studies and Part-Time Work

So, you may have seen my previous post about the 9 jobs I have had working for the University, as well as 3 jobs off campus. Following that,  I have decided to write a post dedicated to discussing how I balance my study/work life, what the money is like, and what it can be useful for.

The reason I decided to work alongside my studies was mainly for extra money and also to enhance my employability for when I graduate.  Many students find that their student loan is not enough to cover all of their living costs and, whilst I am very fortunate that I can pay for everything with my loan and grant, I have also put most of my earnings into a savings account ready for when I graduate.

PiggyBankIn order to balance your time, it’s important to have a schedule of some sort and for this I use my diary.  This allows me to make time for deadlines and also see when it is convenient for me to work.  The best thing about working for the university or students union is their flexibility; they understand that your priority is your degree and they allow for this by asking you when you’re available, instead of just allocating you shifts whenever.  Below is a picture of a typical week in my diary (personally I like the Palgrave planner, because I can include my deadlines as well as additional to-do notes when I need them.)diary

Below I have put together a table of the different jobs I have had, as well as how much I get paid per hour, how many hours I work/had to work per week and how I heard about them.  The jobs I am still currently doing are: Student Ambassador (senior), Employability Ambassador, DLHE Phone Survey Assistant, Top Bar Bartender, Online Brand Ambassador, Healthcare Assistant – care home and agency.

Job Name Pay per hour Hours per week How I heard about the role Job summary
Student Ambassador £7.63 Register for hours online – varied Looked into it before I started University. Also spoke to them during welcome week at their stall · Giving tours of the campus

· Helping out staff in the office

· E-mentoring

· School visits

· Visit days

· Open days

Employability Ambassador £8.33 Emailed about hours, varied throughout year Careers Hub · Helping at employability and careers centre events (e.g. careers fair)
Top Bar Bartender (Students’ Union) £5.40 4-13 hours, shifts usually 4 hours long SU Website and Facebook page · Serving drinks

· Collecting glasses

· Keeping the bar clean

Clearing Temporary Assistant £8.18 Worked 1 week mainly 12 hours per day Emailed about this. Was also on Career Hub · Answering calls from clearing students

· Responding to all queries

· Working at a fast pace

Student Engagement Ambassador £7.59 Worked 3 weeks 28 hours per week, then varied after term began Peer mentor training and Part time jobs fair (organised by employability and careers centre) · Redesigning the peer mentor programme

· Helping to improve the website

· Working on e-learning support desk

· Delivering presentations

DLHE Phone Survey Assistant £8.18 4-6 hours, shifts last 2 hours Followed after working as an Alumni Fund caller · Calling Alumni to encourage them to complete the DLHE (destinations of leavers from higher education) survey over the phone

· Recording data accurately

Essex Fund Student Caller £8.18 6-9 hours, shifts last 3 hours Part time job fair organised by the Employability and Careers centre · Calling Alumni to ask for donations to the Essex Fund

· Updating records on a database

Accommodation Representative £7.25 Emailed about hours, varied throughout year Signed up to this when I registered for my accommodation · Showing students around my accommodation

· Ensuring kitchen and bedroom are tidy

Online Brand Ambassador £7.63 4-6 hours, 6 hours during summer, 4 hours during term Through student engagement ambassador and student ambassador · Creating blog posts (like this one)

· Servicing student forums (e.g. The Student Room)

Healthcare Assistant (Care home) £6.50 Work here during the holidays.  Shifts are 12 hours ‘Indeed’ job website · Caring for elderly residents

· Delivering personal care

Healthcare Assistant (Agency – Athona) £8.50-£12.00 Varied, get called regarding hours and get to choose what suits me Part time job fair organised by the Employability and Careers centre ·  Caring for a variety of residents including elderly and people with a learning disability

· Providing personal care

· Administering medication when required

NCS Assistant Team Leader £500 (for 3 weeks full time) 2 weeks residential (Monday-Friday), 1 week full time (9-5) Part time job fair organised by the Employability and Careers centre · Working with a group of 10 young people to complete the NCS project

· Assisting the Team Leader to deliver sessions

I can honestly say that I have loved all of the jobs that I have had so far and I’m really grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. This experience has also definitely boosted my CV (and bank balance) from when I started out at University!

2 thoughts on “Balancing Studies and Part-Time Work

  1. Great blog post! I am currently in my last year of highschool and I just received my acceptance letter from Essex. I’m happy (and relieved) to know that it is possible to balance your study/work life. Studying so far away from home is going to be quite expensive for me, but I know for sure that I’m going to love it 🙂


  2. Congratulations on receiving your offer and I’m glad you liked my post! I’m sure you’ll love it here at Essex 🙂 the key to balancing it all is good time management and being proactive, but I’m sure you’ll manage fine


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