Comment & Analysis
Dec 21, 2017

Is Having a Part-time Job a Blunder in Final Year?

Do the merits of juggling a job with final-year exam stress outweigh the negatives, asks Julieanne Corr.

Julieanne CorrContributing Writer
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Sinéad Baker for The University Times

Having a part-time job in college has always been a normal aspect of my student experience. Since the beginning of first year, I have worked two to three days a week as a bartender and waitress in a local pub or restaurant. Like many students, I love to travel and so I have continuously spent my college summers abroad. As a result, I have often had to look for a new job on my return. During third year, however, I found myself undecided as to whether I would continue working in my final year, as naturally I wanted to be fully focused on college work and I also had some friends in the year above who had advised me not to, having not done so themselves. I had even spoke to a friend in work who felt her grades in third year had dropped as a result of working too many hours.

I strongly believe that having a part-time job in college is of major importance. Although at times it can be a nuisance working the close shift on a Saturday night when you would rather go out with your friends, it does also have its benefits. It provides you with an opportunity to improve your communication skills and to get a taste of the general work ethic required, while it can often be a confidence mechanism.

Although at times it can be a nuisance working the close shift on a Saturday night when you would rather go out with your friends, it does also have its benefits

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Undoubtedly, engaging with customers on a weekly basis, whether it be in retail or hospitality, can provide you with a better outlook on life as you meet various personalities, and it is certainly something that can prepare you for your future career. Additionally, it can also have its social advantages and provide you with a new group of friends, outside of your college and school cliques.

Of course, it can be a struggle to balance a job when college assignments and group projects start to pile up and you also want to make time to maintain a social life. It can be especially tedious when the people you work with are working there on a full-time basis and are dismissive of college being your priority. Management often don’t care enough to only roster you 10 hours a week because ‘you’re in college and have essays due’. However, it is important to be assertive and only do what you are legitimately able to do.

The arrival of final year is a constant deliberation between aspiring to achieve high grades but also feeling it compulsory to go on one last ski trip, one last Trinity Ball and essentially every other social event there is. Fear of missing out can be a major obstacle in every student’s year. Good time management with your studies can definitely enable you to make time for these social events, but then arises the issue for some of finding the means to pay for them.

Having a part-time job in final year may be tough at times, but it is certainly not a blunder

On my return from Vancouver this summer, I was re-offered a part-time position in the job I had prior to the summer. Having spent most of my savings while away, I decided that I would accept the offer and try my best to balance it with the hardships of final year. Similar to other students, my parents do not provide me with expenses to fund my social life so rather than having a loan dangling over me, a part-time job seemed more feasible. As I looked ahead to the Trinity social calendar, I realised that I would struggle to afford attending trips and events, which I didn’t want to miss out on in my final year, if I did not have some sort of weekly income.

I have asserted to the management where I work that I am in my final year of college and subsequently can only work a maximum of two shifts a week. Although at times this may result in me having to choose a weekend of work over a night out with my friends, this is a sacrifice I have accepted. Instead, I am able to save my earnings for more worthy occasions. Additionally, a part-time job can have the twofold advantage of also being a healthy distraction from looming college deadlines.

Of course, having a part-time job in final year may not suit everyone – different strokes for different folks. However, it should certainly not be viewed as a form of neglecting your studies. Having a part-time job in final year may be tough at times, but it is certainly not a blunder.

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