I have worked in many weird and wonderful jobs in the past from a paper factory, to a Chinese takeaway – but an exhibition assistant? I did not see that one coming.
When I came to Sheffield as a fresher in 2014 one of the first things on my to-do list after a week of partying was the dreaded job hunt. I went to the careers fair, applied online at various pubs and clubs and finally landed myself part time work in a kitchen in the November. My job gave me an escape from University life and the chance to meet new friends. I think that it is easy to feel overwhelmed in your first year, especially living in University accommodation, surrounded solely by students. Part time work can offer some much needed balance.
But I quickly realised the disadvantages and the added pressures of keeping up a job alongside university studies. I had never struggled with this during my A-levels but I found my kitchen job intense and demanding. I would get in from work at 3am and struggle to remain alert for my 10am lectures. My first year exam feels like a distant dream that took place in between a late evening shift and an afternoon shift that I rushed to immediately after to turn up on time. I would be jealous of missing nights out with my housemates and too tired to enjoy them when I could after a five-day stretch of the university then work cycle. Whilst I really benefited from the extra income my grades were wavering. But this year – I finally got things figured out.
I quit my part time kitchen job in August and I started an OnCampus placement in November based in Western Bank library as an exhibition assistant. Not only is my role more relevant to my studies, but I am able to base my hours on my course contact hours and I am given a maximum amount of hours that are spread out across the year. I have had the opportunity to work alongside academic staff, contribute research to the university and I can even gain HEAR accreditation.
If you need part time work, there are always opportunities on the University campus. The pay tends to be a little higher, the university are naturally accepting that as students we have exams and need time to study and there may even be involved the opportunity for extra accreditation!