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This is a guest blog by current student Gabriella Archeampong who studies BSc (Hons) Psychology and applied through Clearing.

I came to BU through Clearing four years ago and I couldn’t be more happy with how things have turned out. Not getting your predicted grades and getting into your first choice of university can feel incredibly disheartening at first, but things do work out, and as I’ve said, I can’t imagine Bournemouth University not being my university now!

Lots of people have concerns when they come to university. Making friends, the accommodation they will end up securing, moving away from home, the list is endless, but for me I would say my worries were more around the whole financial side of things. Whilst your student loan will help support pay your tuition fees and the maintenance loans helps towards your living costs, I knew I would need to get some form of work to help pay for food, travel and social activities. I also felt it was necessary to gain more independence and skills that would help me in and outside of university.

You might think working and studying at the same time is impossible, but it’s actually ok. Whilst it can be challenging, so long as you effectively manage your time, it works!

So in my first term when I started university I found a job in retail which I worked intermittently throughout my time at BU. Let me tell you about my experiences so you can get a realistic idea as to how to manage university and work life. Weirdly enough I worked at B&Q as a Customer adviser in Castlepoint Shopping Centre for three days a week; on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays. This meant that days off had to be used for any assignments or exam preparations and I think this is where I really learnt to manage my time as without organisation, I would have fallen behind a lot. My weekday shifts meant I had to go to work straight from lectures sometimes and at times I would have to come home around 11 at night so it was definitely a lot of commitment. It is all worth it when you see the balance in your account go up though! It meant I could go and do social activities with my friends without worrying about wracking up additional debt. Having extra money meant I could also save for a rainy day. It also made me much more responsible as a person and meant I was learning to be self-reliant.

In my final year I stepped it up a little bit and worked two jobs for the university. One was working as a Resident Assistant which meant I planned events and catered to first year students, and the other was a placement leader which meant I helped second year students find placements. I would say working for the university is so much easier, the pay is great AND the hours are more flexible. So if you’re reading this and thinking about getting a job, I would suggest looking out for the student ambassador roles.  I suggest looking and applying ahead of time to give you the best opportunity.

Overall having a job is challenging, but it is also rewarding because you can expand your CV, make connections, grow as a person and let’s not forget earn extra cash. Just make sure the places you are applying for don’t interfere with your education and that you have the time to work and study while at university. Please share any comments and questions below.

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