Published on January 27, 2014 | by Caroline Schmitt

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Five reasons students should work part time

LCC student Caroline Schmitt

Caroline Schmitt [Benjamin Bishop]

Though it can get a little hectic at times, the benefits of working alongside studying, for both my purse and my mental health (explanation follows), have clearly outweighed the odd all-nighter during exam time. Here’s why:

Time management: With a job, you just can’t afford to waste two days in a row sitting in the library and scrolling through BuzzFeed instead of putting together the bibliography of your essay. Equally, knowing how valuable a night off is will force you to make the most of it. So, rather than having less time to get shit done, I have learned to prioritise tasks instead, which I’ve heard is a very valuable skill to bring to the real world.

Sanity: The creative industry can occasionally feel like a mad circus of very weird eccentrics, with all its networking events and fashion shows and panel discussions and heated debates on Twitter. It can be a sensible idea to remind yourself once or twice a week that there is more to life than Photoshop or your sewing machine. (Also, you wouldn’t believe what miracles unpacking a pallet of soap from a delivery does to your writer’s block!)

Back-up plan: If you don’t completely suck at mixing overpriced cocktails on Brick Lane, or at putting on fake smiles for rude customers to get them to buy stuff they don’t need, chances are you can turn that into a full-time job after graduation. That is of course only until you get the “YOU’RE HIRED!” call from Alexander McQueen’s office. But bear in mind that from then on, there is no escaping the networking insanity.

Money: Perhaps we should also give the economics a little mention: It’s nice not having to fully rely on that student loan or your parents’ benevolence. It’s also nice to get some paid holiday and to know you fully deserve that drink, or ten.

Christmas parties: They really are as good as everyone says they are. If your colleagues have only half as much swag as you do, chances are the team bonding socials at Pizza Express, or post-work drinks at the pub next door will be a huge success. There’s nothing quite like bitching about head office or laughing about that smart customer who ran into the glass door when your shop was already closed, causing blood from his head wound to run onto his 2-4-1 voucher, and who then came back the next morning with his gross voucher and a scab on his forehead to get his two boxes of tea for the price of one…

Whether another commitment will affect your degree fully depends on your own style of learning. I wouldn’t recommend doing 30 hours a week next to a business course, but with something as flexible and independent as the arts, some added structure to your life might come in handy. Good luck!

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