How to maintain a job whilst at university

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University life is tough, let’s not sugarcoat that. For some though, student loans don’t cover your costs and having a job is essential. Sure, not everyone has that reason for working, some just want something outside of uni to do. When it comes to maintaining your university workload and your job on top, it can get a little difficult so here’s some ways how to manage your time effectively.

Make use of a diary.

Putting in your plans into your phone calendar is all well and good, until you forget they’re there… (this has happened to me on a number of occasions.) By using a physical diary you can visually set out when your lectures are and then write in when you’re working. This gives you a better idea as to how much spare time you really have. Rather than expecting you have time where you don’t, this also helps with looking ahead towards deadlines and scheduling in overtime. I would recommend using a week to view diary so then the layout of your week is much clearer than a day to day diary.

Find the right part-time job for you.

There are other jobs out there rather than typical student work like bar-work or waitressing. I work an unconventional job, as a day trip host with the student union. It works for me, as I work some weekends and get to see new places (while being paid.) Checking out your university job board is a great way to see what jobs are out there! Some alternative options you could explore are; tutoring, participating in research, mystery shopping and typist or transcription work.

How much time do you have?

It’s important to figure out ahead of applying for jobs when you can work. If you have a few days off in the week, working in the daytime may suit you more than working late at night if you finish lectures at 6pm. If you don’t think you can manage a 12 hour contract, don’t force yourself to overwork. When applying you can ask the employer whether they would consider a shorter contract. If you don’t as you don’t get! You should also consider where your potential workplace is, as your commute could take a considerable amount of time.

Know your rights!

This is essential when working, regardless if you’re full or part-time. If your contract only states for you to work 6 hours per week and your employer (without consulting you) schedules you in for 20 hours that week, you can legally refuse to work anything but your contracted hours. You should also be aware of how many rest breaks you’re entitled to. Under the law workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute break, if they work more than 6 hours. You also have the right to 11 hours rest between working days, e.g. if you finish work at 9pm, you shouldn’t start working until 8am the next day. Your contract may say you’re entitled to different rights or more breaks at work but this is something you need to look over.


I hope some of these tips can help you potentially work alongside university, but my final thought is that you must put yourself first. Whether that’s physically or mentally, don’t overwork yourself and keep in mind your degree should come first. After all it took so much work to get here!

Words by Rosie Mary Kathleen Boon

Sarah and Rosie are your lifestyle editors.

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