Elena's Blog: 5 problems working students face
5 problems working students face throughout an academic year:
Nowadays, it seems very difficult to get by as a university/college student without having a steady wage checking-in the bank account every month. Rent, bills, basic needs, all require a certain amount of £££ per month (and many know how tough it can be if our families can’t afford helping us out). For those less fortunate, without the availability of a student loan such as SAAS, working part-time - or sometimes full-time - may become a necessary evil. What does that mean, however, for a student? Well, I have put together 5 common problems (the very mundane) life of a full-time student in employment may face!
- Time-management suddenly becomes a challenge!
When I say time-management, I mean, being able to find enough time to accommodate an appropriate amount of time to study, along with trying to accommodate shifts around the university’s schedule and fit in a lunch/dinner, a shower and some -highly sought after- sleep! Zzzzzzz
What to do? Try to work the least hours possible, be super organised (yes…..I know it can be difficult), have a diary and create a schedule where you allow yourself certain breaks between work/study, and try to see friends and family at least twice a week to keep you happy and motivated!
- Having a mandatory -unpaid- placement (as part of your course)
Ok – so! You may have to fit in that previously mentioned tight schedule a placement, which can be part of your course, or you might even want to gain some experience your field of study. But, of course, 80% of the time these placements are unpaid, or only cover travel expenses. Of course, leaving a (paying) job is not an option, but it’s always a good idea, in such a case to try and spread out the working hours of the placement (such as work once/twice a week), or try to work fewer hours per day.
- Having a personal life (?)!
Personal life! Aah! What a fairytale! As all of them, it starts with “once upon a time…” and end with the “The end.”! So once upon a time, I had enough time to see and call my friends or partner everyday, but then life got in the way! – The end.
They say “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”, I say “when life gives you lemons, put ‘em in a basket for later and go get yourself a cheesecake”. What do I mean by that? Don’t try to see what you can alter in your life, instead contemplate on what is worth improving! And a social/personal life, during these difficult pressured times, can actually help maintain a healthy self-esteem, while avoiding psychological issues such as depression and anxiety that become more common every day to young adults with many responsibilities.
- Working a back-shift can be exhausting, especially if there is a morning class the next day…..
When in part-time jobs, such as in the hospitality industry, there are many possibilities of a double shift to come up and have to cover or even choose to cover, in order to cover more hours and of course earn more. That however can be exhausting, especially since in many cases, the break might only last for a half hour (and for the…. smokers maybe an extra ten minutes including a couple of cigarette breaks) and result to bad performance (either in work, or the university).
The only way to solve this problem, is again by trying to be as organised as possible. Try keeping a schedule in which, you will work not later than 10pm and not on a school day.
- Setting priorities becomes formidable and overwhelming…
Have you ever been in a situation where you have a group assignment and all members of the group have difficulty finding a suitable day or time to meet up and work on because of evening jobs, or better yet, where all other members of your class’s group activities are available and you are the only one finding it hard to accommodate your group with a suitable arrangement? Well, welcome to my world three years ago!
I remember, in a review in college for my poor attendance, (even though I was considered as one of the good students and all my assessments were handed in on time), I was told by my lecturer that I needed to set priorities and if I had so much difficulty making ends meet, that I should quit college and return when money wasn't an issue for me, while using herself as an example of not working as a student and living at her parents home etc etc. As you can understand I went absolutely berserk and had a massive rant on how that was completely inappropriate to say and instead of trying to clip a students wing her responsibility was to try and motivate him/her – or in that case ME! (Bare in mind, my lecturer was two years older than me and I felt she should understand me more, as I was no longer a young adult coming out if teenage-hood and trying to discover what I wanted in life).
To make a very very long story short, I am still mad for what she said to me, but that’s when I saw the ugly truth. I had to set my priorities! Whether that meant living with more people to pay less rent, or having less options in my fridge for an extra year or two, in order to get the degree I always wanted and achieve so much more than what I did at the time, was no dilemma for me. I eventually got my HND, I took a year off to work and save up some money and finally I am here… in my final year… where soon it will all be over – or maybe it’ll all be starting for me and all students who have felt the same and been in the same position I was.
Never think of giving up your education just because life gets messy!
And… to wrap it up with a nice motivational quote “Aim for the sky and you’ll reach the ceiling. Aim for the ceiling and you’ll stay on the floor” – Bill Shankly
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