Workin’ 9 to 5

Helen McGuire, student blogger

Over the last semester I’ve been working part time alongside my degree in a company specialising in online marketing and web development. It wasn’t strictly 9 to 5, but 2 ‘til 6 (which in student terms is pretty much a full day’s work). So if you’re in two minds about whether to get a part-time job while you’re here at university, I thought I’d impart some wisdom and maybe help you make a decision.Firstly, don’t discount anything. The job I applied for was advertised as data inputting which obviously isn’t the most fulfilling task in the world; however once I’d completed what I was originally asked to do I was moved onto much more varied and interesting work. I had no interest in working in marketing or web development, so don’t be put off applying if you think it won’t give you any relevant experience. Even though I’m not interested in working in this sector I’ve gained experience with all kinds of general office skills that will be relevant to any job.

Bear in mind how much time you can or are willing to work. My measly 6 hours of contact time a week meant I could fit in perfectly with the traditional office working hours. However if your course is more time intensive you may need to consider something that you can commit your Saturdays or free evenings to. Also remember that most employers will be flexible and understand you have commitments outside the job – for example I was allowed time off for exam revision and essay deadlines.

If money is playing a large part in your reasons for getting a job then you might want to focus on work that pays more than minimum wage. And remember even though you’re in the black, your friends may not be; so when you suggest going for a few cocktails at the Hilton don’t be surprised if they decline…

The hardest aspect of working part time was not letting my uni work suffer.  I had to be prepared to sacrifice nights out at the pub to stay in and start on essays and preparatory reading that I now didn’t have time to do during the day, and even then I often felt the strain of deadlines much more than I had previously.

Overall, I think working part time has been a positive experience. I’ve met some great people, gained a whole new set of skills for my CV and allowed myself to do some guilt free shopping. I would definitely recommend it !


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