The working student (Yorker Archives)

As part of this startling independence you suddenly face upon arrival at university (“you mean I have to do my OWN laundry?”), a pitiful student loan and whatever spends you can convince your parents to donate won’t ever seem quite enough to fund your debauchery or even your pesky food habit. And the realistic way of dealing with this is a part-time job. While Hannah Allies thinks it’s a bit of a waste of time, I’m here to make the case for working students.

Pulling pints so you can afford your own ©Rama
Don’t kid yourself that the time you’re earning real life minimum wage would be otherwise spent hard at work in the library. Especially in first year, all spare time suddenly becomes nap time, or time spent pointlessly Facebook stalking people you’ve only the loosest connection to. It’s certainly not spent rereading your lecture notes. You may as well put it to good use.
Working a part time job really will help your future prospects. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s true. While you’re probably not planning on becoming a professional shelf-stacker or barman after University, it’s important to know how work environments work first hand. This means knowing how time-keeping works (if they say you start at one, turn up at five to), how to deal with idiot customers (“no sir, I can’t give you a fifty per cent discount…”) and how to handle a crisis (Table Twelve don’t have their desserts yet and the kitchen’s just set on fire).Transferable skills, right there.
No matter how fabulous your essays in first year were, nor how your were an avid member of Fish and Chip Soc, no employer is going to care about your CV unless you can prove you’re willing and able to graft. Graft hard. Cleaning tables or changing beer barrels might not be the most fun things in the world, but it shows you know the real meaning of elbow grease. Employers lap that stuff up.
While work may eat into your social calender at some times- don’t let this put you off. Weekends are pretty uneventful in York, so putting in a few hours at a shop or cafe in town will keep you busy without dragging you away from too many college matches or student nights. Plus, you’ve got a Christmas work-do to look forward to now.
Equally, it provides a handy excuse for those invites you’d rather not accept. Oh, you’re all dressing up in bin bags for a night out? I’d love to, obviously, but I have work the next morning, and if I went in smelling like Mansion I’d probably get fired. Works a charm.
The main, and most obvious benefit of working is the wage. God knows you’ll be needing some form of income; those library fines aren’t going to pay themselves.
It can be tough sometimes, but just think of the money. When you’re scrubbing someone else’s vomit from the loo, when you’re rearranging bras on a mannequin, when you’re just clocking off at midnight. YOU ARE GETTING PAID. It might not be the most exciting wage, but it’ll be worth it when all of your friends are eating plain pasta for the third day in a row and you can afford take away pizza. Think of the glamour.
First published here, and later featuredon Ones To Watch Media here.

Farrah Kelly

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