“So, what are you studying?
*insert answer here*
“Ohh nice, do you have a job as well or?”
It’s the cliché conversation every student goes through; the other cliché is the broke uni student one. So how do you find the balance between working and having $3.10 to your name? Is there a middle ground?
I can tell you that most of my mates that go to uni, have a part time/casual job; some even juggle three jobs and four subjects! Obviously that life isn’t for everyone, and the answer to the question I asked above is balance. Being able to balance your studies with your work is such an important skill. Yes, you need to earn the money now, but you are also paying top dollar for an education, therefore, you want to make the most of that as well! Speaking from experience here, I started uni with no job, and I found that I had too much spare time. By end of semester last year, I was doing three jobs. Now, I am back to one.
So, in my opinion it comes down to four factors that should define your work-study-life balance.
- How well do you manage time?
Being able to manage your time keeps you in check with your other responsibilities. Whether you do it by using a calendar, to-do list or just remembering everything in your head, it’s important to have a system in place. The system should outline what you are going to do and when. It is also up to you to get these things done, so it gives you some accountability.
- How many hours of work do you need to support yourself?
Know your limits. Know how much you need to work and how much you need to study. If you’re working too many hours, it is important to be responsible for yourself and cut the hours down. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough money to support yourself, work some more. It all comes back to finding a balance.
- How many hours of study do you need to do well?
Everyone is different when it comes to university studies. Some people catch on to concepts quickly, and for others, it takes hours and hours of studying to scrape a four. We are all different. Some people don’t procrastinate at all and others could do it for a whole day. Knowing yourself and your study habits is pivotal in finding that work-study-life balance.
- Where do your priorities lie?
Working and using your own money teaches you a lot of things, not only about using your funds wisely, but a job can give you interpersonal and communicative skills, teach you to multitask and more. University on the other hand gives you a strong education and foundation, and sets you up for your career ahead. Both are important life lessons. Everyone has different priorities and knowing what you prioritise in terms of work and uni, allows you to manage your time and find that balance.
Quick Tips for Part time/Casual Jobs
Choose between casual and part-time work wisely. Getting caught up in part-time work can impact your study-life time greatly. Casual rates are usually higher, however obviously you have less hours.
Do what you like. I worked in retail for a few months and realised it wasn’t for me and now I work at a Financial Planning firm, which is very interesting and I’m learning a lot. If you know you’re going to hate it, don’t do it.
Have a strong resume and cover letter. Having talked with employees at different events, most say that the Cover Letter is just as important as the Resume. If you really want a certain job, make sure you spend time on perfecting both. One of the biggest mistakes people make is sending a generic cover letter… don’t do it!
Try to acquire a job with flexible hours. Having work commitments that you can’t get out of, doesn’t give you much room to move when you have imperative uni commitments arise. Being in a job that allows for flexibility is important.