January 2017: Is it good to have a job while at University?

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Masters courses are seen as very intensive and time-consuming. As we are paying a lot of money for a better qualification and to increase our chances of getting a good job after we graduate, we are expected to focus on our degree. So is getting a part-time job the right thing to do when we are fully committed to performing well at university?

I did think a lot about that before applying for a job back in November. I knew it was going to be hard to balance work and study but I wanted to give it a try. I have been fortunate enough to have amazing parents who have supported me financially throughout my studies so I didn’t really have to work back when I was doing my Bachelor degree. That’s why I decided that this year was the year to finally get some work experience and become the strong independent woman I’ve always seen myself as being.

I applied for a Christmas sales assistant job at a really nice retail store and was happy when they called me to let me know that I was successful. I’m a perfectionist and very dedicated to everything I do so I learned how to do the job quickly and became very good at it. Having this job was a really good experience – I obviously started earning proper money and managed to become more independent. Also, I met a lot of new people and became good friends with my co-workers. As someone who was new to the city it was nice to widen my social circle and meet people outside of uni.

However, having more responsibilities is obviously more challenging. There was a time in December when I found it really hard to balance work and study. I had to write a lab report and revise for three exams that I had later that month and at the same time, because I didn’t have lectures anymore, I was working pretty much five days a week. I had to wake up at 4 or 5 o’clock almost every morning to study before I go to work because I knew that I would be too tired to do so after work. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and was feeling pretty stressed. Moreover, because I got a temporary Christmas job I had to stay in Manchester over the holidays and spend Christmas away from my family. It wasn’t great being away from home during the holidays but sometimes when you commit to something you have to be ready to pay the price.

Altogether, I don’t regret getting that job. It was challenging at times but it was a great experience. I met some amazing people there, I learned a lot about being responsible and became better at managing my time properly. Now that the holidays are over, I got offered to stay at the store and become a permanent employee and I accepted the offer. Completing my degree is obviously my number one priority so if I ever think that I’m not performing well at university due to my work commitments I would quit my job, but for now I’m happy that I’m doing something that helps me grow as a person.

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Mariya Moneva

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