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24th October 2016

To work or not to work?

To work or not to work: that is the question. We’ve asked two contributors to give their view on the age-old debate—is getting a part time job worth it?

It’s a well-known fact that some loans don’t cover a student budget, so a part time job may be vital to survive the many months of scrimping ahead. But if you’re on the fence about whether or not part time work is worth the hassle, here are five cons to consider.

Firstly, judging from personal experience, working a 12-hour shift after a heavy night is a sickening prospect. Imagine waking up after two hours sleep and having to tolerate customers and colleagues, or complete the most hideous tasks, when all you really want to do is eat crisps and sleep.

You’ve then got the small matter of the numerous weeks you’ll want to take off at Christmas, Easter and during summer; Fallowfield is not as fun without the students (and Kebab King has been known to close at these times; can you imagine the horror?!) Many employers hire multiple students and rely on them heavily for the rotas, so they can be pretty inflexible when it comes to times that everybody wants off.

Perhaps for the less self-restrained among us, the idea of a constant flow into your bank account will encourage you to just spend more money by setting the mindset that you have a lot of cash to play with. Especially after a few drinks, it is easy to convince yourself that a minimum wage can afford to buy a round in Deansgate, or that smugly cruising past the cramped Magic Bus in an Uber XL all to yourself is worth the price.

Most part-time jobs have a minimum of number of hours required to work every week, and these are often not set shifts: this can have a significant and stressful impact. It means there’s less time to invest in your work or social life, and it’s difficult to organise your week if you don’t know your shifts ahead of time. This can be particularly bad around exam season or near coursework deadlines when, for once, you would rather be studying than dealing with the general public.

The final, and admittedly rather tenuous, con of having a part time job is the chore of having to wash your uniform (which is also probably really ugly). Do you really want to spend a fiver on Circuit laundry for a white wash because, unlike your other whites, you can’t really take the risk with your work shirt?

These cons may not all apply to you, but they’re definitely matters to consider before securing yourself a part time job at university.

Meanwhile, contributor Megan Byrne has a different take on things…

Taking on a part time job whilst at uni is one of the best things you can do to break out of the notorious ‘uni bubble’. A job can offer you the chance to avoid spending all of your time on Oxford Road and missing out on all that our city has to offer. My own experiences of having a part time job have included forming friendships with people I may otherwise have never even come into contact with. This helped me to broaden my world view beyond the walls of the classroom and the dancefloor of Sankeys.

The most obvious benefit of a part time work is the financial boost it gives you. Having a few extra pennies each month can really help make your student loan stretch a bit further.  Furthermore, extra cash becomes invaluable if you’re saving for big trip or want to splash out on life’s little luxuries like Netflix, a take-away or that extra Jägerbomb.

The most useful thing I’ve gained from having a job is the structure it provides. My Humanities degree means that I have minimal contact hours and whilst that has its perks, it makes it all too easy to lay in bed all day procrastinating. This is made impossible when you have the added responsibility of a job and forces me to plan ahead and work efficiently.

Finally, a part time job can also be the spark which kick-starts your whole career. The passion and hard work that I’ve seen at my place of work has truly inspired me to consider the possibilities of what I could achieve after graduation.

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