student life

The pros and cons of working while at university

job fair, education, university, student life, Nadene Chandler, Kettle Mag
Written by nadenechandler

University has lots of pros. The student life is a life like no other, but secretly, a lot of us students are having to work during our free time to be Tesco value everything free. Even for those students who are lucky enough to get the full maintenance grants and loans from student finance, it’s still not enough for them to buy food every week, alcohol, travel home every now and then and also live life as a student.

Working at university

Before I started university, I thought the money I would have was going to do me just fine. That certainly isn’t the answer. I head to Tesco every weekend to buy my weekly shop, but every day after uni, I seem to pop into the supermarkets to pick up some essentials (Chocolate, crisps, the latest deals). 

Things add up a lot, and I completely forgot that going from living in a small town to one of the biggest cities in the country, there’s a lot for students to do. Meaning weekly cinema trips, shopping trips and events in and around the city. There’s really only one way to solve the needs of a student who wants to make the most of their student years, and that is to work alongside their degree. 

Work can be anything, from working in retail, a small family pub or even working for uni. There’s lots of jobs out there for students, and lots of students decide to juggle university work alongside earning the extra money. From day one as a university student, I applied for a job as a student ambassador. Universities pay a lot, so it’s a great job to have.

According to a recent study from the National Union of Students, around 77 per cent of students work, which is up 59 per cent from last year and students earned on average £412 a month. That’s a perfect amount of money for those who are either working for that little extra money so they can enjoy themselves and not have to worry as much about money, or will help to cover living costs for those students who only receive enough money to cover their accommodation. 

46 per cent of students use their overdraft to help make ends meet. I myself did the same in my first year and ended up at one point in the year with -£1,500 in my account. It’s useful to have an overdraft, but you do have to pay it back which is a pain. So it really is best to either try to keep out of it, going into it a little bit won’t be the end of the world, or trying to get a job. There’s a job fair at literally every university during freshers week, so go along and you’ll find something!

The Bank of Mum and Dad

There’s something about university, which makes me realise just how much I relied on my family for money before coming here. Throughout my first year, I asked my mum for money twice when things were getting very desperate. I instantly feel really bad asking for money, I feel super guilty and it just seems like something you shouldn’t do.

I’m living a good four hour drive from home, I haven’t seen my family in months, I’m independent. So why ask for money? No one wants their family to think that they can’t budget, but I do see where some students are coming from. And myself, I know my family wouldn’t want me to have no money and struggling while at uni, so I know they’d always help out if I asked them to. I just really think that at the age of 19 or over, I don’t see how some students will rely on their parents to keep topping up their bank account monthly. Where is the independence in that?

Things are kind of tough as a student, especially now the government has plans to scrap even more money students receive so the students from poorer backgrounds will struggle a lot more at university in a few years time. There’s so many jobs out their for students, if you can’t get a job working outside of uni, you’re bound to find a job working for your uni.

Even if it’s just for a few hours a week, it’s extra money and there’s something rather rewarding about earning money. I don’t find it the most interesting thing, having to set your alarm on your days off to work, but you’ll thank yourself for it. 

What do you think? What are your experiences of trying to fund a degree? Have your say in the comments section below.