My experiences with working while at university have been mixed. I have never done anything that has been near enough to my uni house to make it a permanent feature. On top of that, my obsession with thinking that uni work will overtake my life has always kept me from applying for more permanent jobs, even over the holiday periods. That being said, I’ve done my fair share of temporary work while at university. From my experience, catering work can be very worthwhile. By this, I mean joining up to an agency and working behind a bar for 8 hours every so often, earning you about £60-£80 depending on what exact job you do, and whereabouts. This is a great source of money, one days work that’ll cover most of your weekly spend, without touching any of your loan. It’s also often quite enjoyable, you meet a lot of people, and if you can become a regular face working there you tend to have more fun as other regulars will actually know you and make much more effort with you.
There is no doubt that there are drawbacks. Location is one of them. I’ve been part of the Compass group (a catering company) for many years now, and despite the fact they are established in many sports grounds across the country, not all of them are close-by, making travel either a bit of a nightmare or expensive. I became a bit of a regular working at Twickenham during the holidays, and so tended to continue working there if I ever did weekend work while at uni. In reality, the cost of the trains back to London weren’t the end of the world, if booked far enough in advance they would be maximum £15. The main issue was how draining the travel itself was. I absolutely salute those who can do a 2 and a half to 3 hour commute every day, because I have never felt more tired and bored in my life, and that was only after a few days work. That potentially says more about me than the commute, but after a few weekends work, it was enough for me to pack it in.
Now, something I did for money when I was younger was refereeing kids football games. In terms of an hourly rate, it’s fantastic money. £25 for about an hour and a half of actual work. I do somewhat wish I had carried it on at university. There’s plenty of opportunity for refereeing work at my university, and it could’ve made me a couple of quid on the side just to cover the weekly shop, or fund a trip to the pub. I mean, we even use refs in the lowest level of sunday league within the uni, and I’m sure there would be opportunities within the local sunday league scene as well. So, if you want a few extra quid for not much work, I would recommend doing a course. There’s a small starting investment financially and also you need to be willing to give up some time, but it’s worth it, and you recoup your initial investment in the six games you need to complete to fully qualify anyway.
My final thought on working at university goes out to those who are applying now or going next year. If you want a good job at uni, APPLY EARLY. If you rock up midway through second term and realise you need some money, you’re not going to be getting it from a job at Tesco or the local pub. There are always going to be people going for those jobs, so you have to be on the ball. That being said, that applies more for regular jobs. There are plenty of ways to make money as a student, and I will discuss those in a forthcoming post, but until then, thanks for reading!