Debate: Working gave me new friends and independence

Should students work a part time job while studying at university?

Working is a great opportunity to make new friends Image: Taber Andrew Bain/Flickr

When I started my job at university last year I had the same fears as every other student who has to manage their work life balance.Will it affect my studies? How will I work around lectures? And what about my social life? Little did I know that it would lead to some of my favourite university memories.

There are obvious benefits to having a job while studying at university; the main one being money. Students are renowned for being penniless, so the extra cash is certainly useful.

Living on your own at university is an opportunity for you to become more independent and learn to manage your money. Having a job gives you a greater understanding of the value of money, and the importance of careful saving and budgeting.

It also means you don’t have to worry about how you are going to pay for the basic necessities.
I have found that my wages allow me to enjoy my time at university without the pressure of finding money for rent. I am thankful that I have never had to face the embarrassment of asking my parents for money to bail me out of my overdraft or cover those unpaid bills.

When you earn your own money you can treat yourself to new clothes or big nights out without worrying it will break the bank. When I go shopping or out for dinner with the girls I know I can afford it. There is no heart-stopping moment of panic about the effect my splurge will have on my weekly budget.

Having a job at university also offers the chance to meet new people. It is a great opportunity to socialise with both students and local residents who you wouldn’t usually meet. I now have friends from different courses and year groups, all with their own interests.

You may even find that having a job can enhance your social life, as you spend time with your new work-mates. My new friends and I have organised meals out and nights in town as part of our work socials. This gives us the chance to get to know each other and have fun outside of our working environment.

The main concern many people have about having a job while at university is how they will manage it around their studies. However, in my experience, many employers are happy to adjust your working hours to your academic schedule.

Learning to balance your working hours with academic commitments can be a great lesson in organisation. You have to learn to make better use of your time, and you are more grateful when you have free time to relax.

As another year begins, I find myself looking forward to getting back to work. I would encourage all students who are considering working while they study to go ahead with it.

I sincerely believe that my university experience wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable without my new friends and the nights out my wages have helped to fund.

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