Written by Anh Ngu
MSc Marketing Management
Many students work part-time alongside studying, either because they need some extra funds or they just want to be independent. Some students also want to gain relevant experience to enhance their employability or simply want to explore life “out there”. Whatever the reason is, I believe a part-time job will surely benefit you in one way or another and it’s worth having one.
Balancing studying and working is not easy though, it’s difficult to excel at one without neglecting the other, but only to some degree.
As a Master’s student, my programme doesn’t seem too heavy. It’s not that there is a lack of taught knowledge or skills, but the programmes are designed not only for students to improve their expertise but also for them to develop personally and have a healthy lifestyle. Thus there is supposed to be time for extracurricular activities. Although it’s more challenging for international students whose language is one of the barriers to land a job, it’s not impossible.
In my opinion, to balance studying and working, the most important thing to do is to have a clear plan.
How many hours can you spend on a job? When are you available? (Some employers only hire students for weekends, but some may require that you’re available on week days as well.) Can you commit to a regular job schedule or would you prefer a job with more flexibility? How about a summer job? These questions will help you find an appropriate job that fits your timetable.
Knowing your limits is also important. Remember that study comes first, so if your work puts a pressure on your study perhaps you should consider lessening the workload, especially during exams. Before deciding to quit, try to challenge yourself a bit. Life is not easy, and if you don’t try your best you won’t know what you are capable of.
Try to have time for yourself as well. You are not a machine, you need time to relax and socialise, do things that you love to do, such as travelling, hanging out or reading. Rewarding yourself is also a good means of motivation. You have bills to pay, but you need fancy clothes for parties, too. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
I am working for Starbucks at weekends and I love being a barista so much. If I have extra time I will accept some job offers from BU as a student ambassador. I save time to travel, to participate in Dance Society events and still maintain a high merit grade. Last summer I also undertook an internship in a marketing agency. I’ve made more friends, broadened my network, gained more experiences and strengthened my time management as well as stress control.
If I can do it, you can too!
You live only once, live it to the full.
By Anh Ngu