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Balancing a part-time job and university

I have always had a part time job throughout my time at university, working as a lifeguard at the swimming pool to earn some extra money as my maintenance loan didn’t cover my rent when I was living out at university.

I am on a zero-hours contract which is the best for me as it means I can vary my shifts depending on how busy I am and during exam periods I know I don’t have to worry about working so I can focus on revising. Getting the right balance can be really hard and stressful so I’ve listed a few things to keep in mind whilst working out the best work pattern for you.

Look for jobs on campus or close to university

Especially during freshers there are lots of part-time jobs available for students on campus which can be highly paid for only a few hours work and also means minimal travel. Working for university means that you can pick your shifts flexibly and it is great experience to put on your CV. The link has some useful information on part-time jobs and links to student jobs in Manchester.

Set your boundaries and plan ahead

I found it extremely useful to plan ahead around my lectures/seminar timetable and work out how much free time I would have each week before taking on any shifts. It is good practice to work for no more 15 hours per week to help achieve the right balance between studies and working. I made sure to tell my boss my availability in advance to avoid having to cancel or rearrange shifts last minute. I would be making sure to take on fewer or no shifts on the weeks I knew I would have more on my plate such as in the run-up to exams and take on more in the holidays.

It’s okay to say no to work

I am really bad at saying no to managers when they would ask me to do an extra shift and next thing, I am working 20+ hours a week on top of university. It is important to put yourself first always and it is okay to refuse shifts especially if you are not contracted to work so many hours.

Look after yourself

After working and studying, make sure to schedule in some me time and take a break. I would recommend taking a walk or going for a run, exercise is proven to be a great stress relief and it really helps me clear my mind and take a break especially during exam periods.

Talk to someone if you’re struggling

The below link is to UoM Student Support Website which has information on maintaining financial wellbeing and information on financial support funds that are available to students who may be struggling to make ends meet. The Counselling and Mental Health service is also available if you’re worried and want to talk to someone.

Buildings in Manchester

A view from Salford train station

The logo of the Royal Life Saving Society in the UK