Earn while you learn

Being skint at university is all part of the student image. It’s bohemian, it’s smelly, it’s grimy and it’s cool. It’s not hard to come across groups of students competing on who’s got the lowest bank balance.

The skint image is alright for a few months, but sooner or later it’s going to get to you; particularly when the rosy-cheeked exchange student next door runs downstairs to welcome a Ocado van, full of French cheese and fresh pasta, all paid for on their mum’s credit card, while you swallow down a tin of supermarket own baked beans for the fifth time that week.

You may begin to ask yourself, “Should I break away from the cool crowd and get myself a job?” The truth is, having no money and eating rubbish food for prolonged periods of time is actually quite depressing. A part-time job can work really well with some degree disciplines, where you canhave as little as two hours teaching time per week.

Your university website is a good place to start looking for a job, as they usually have apage dedicated to classifieds for part-time jobs that would be suitable for a student. There will also be noticeboards around campus, a careers service, and some will have job fairs.

And even for jam-packed degree subjects, there are ways of making money; you just have to be creative about how you do it. The convenience factor will come into play when looking for a job, and as a fresher, your campus bar may seem very appealing. Most universities pay their staff quite well, and you can expect a bit more than minimum wage.

But Tom Spindler, 23, from Leeds University has a warning. He worked in his union during his first year at university: “Serving your friends up drinks all night is not as great as it sounds.

They all want to be served first, and they always want it for free! I eventually got sick of serving up snakebite instead of drinking it.” But most bars, clubs, cafés and shops will welcome students to come and work for them, and pride themselves on offering flexible working hours.

Walking around the town centre of your university, you’ll see adverts in shop windows showing vacancies. Word of mouth is also definitely a good way to hear about flexible jobs suitable for students. Be warned, however, that some workplaces may pressure you to work more hours than you had originally intended.

Ollie Marsh, 25, from York University ended up working full-time in the kitchen of a pub for his entire second year. “The managers would rota us down for loads of shifts and would be really unwilling to make changes,” he says. “I used to feel completely obliged, and my university work definitely suffered. I had to work twice as hard in my final year to make up for it.”

Everyone can have a different experience with part time jobs, but the key for the university student is to ensure that your employer is flexible. This will make your life much easier, when it comes to the start of a new term and all of your lecture times have changed, when your dissertation is due the next day, or when a party that you absolutely cannot miss falls on a shift day.

Another thing to think about is doing something for your career. Sally Burrows, 20 from Manchester University has recently signed up to a childcare agency, where she gets contracted out to different schools and nurseries in the area. “I’m lucky in that I know I want to go into child psychology after uni,” she says. “The job is great because it’s flexible; I can increase or decrease my hours depending on my availability. It’s also really rewarding and I know it will look good on my CV.” She found out about the job on her university’s job page for students.

You also have to be creative within your situation. Alice Swan, 21, from Nottingham University lives with the landlord’s son. She cleans the house every Wednesday and the landlord pays her £40 for it. Tim Fitzgerald, 21, from York University can make £50 in two hours busking on his violin in the touristy areas.

You can also use your talents to create potential money for yourself. Make jewellery and sell it to local shops, set up an orange juice stall on campus, design a club night, sell your paintings, set yourself up to take photos at weddings, run a dance class, teach swimming lessons, do some freelance writing for publications, or write a book for Mills & Boon.

There are so many options and you just have to find what’s right for you, and don’t worry if you haven’t yet discovered your talent there’s always the less exciting but ever-reliable university careers service.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + + uncapped commission + benefits: SThree: Did you ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + benefits + uncapped commission: SThree: Did you kn...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Web Developer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions