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August 07, 2020, 01:33:51 am

Author Topic: Working during uni: what has it looked like for you?  (Read 360 times)  Share 

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heids

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Working during uni: what has it looked like for you?
« on: July 31, 2020, 04:07:53 pm »
+15
It can be really hard to know how to navigate the mysterious difficulties of work/uni balance.  I've always wanted to know what it looks like for other people!

I'd love this to become a helpful resource space where we share our experiences and get a clearer idea of what different options there might be.

No matter your situation, Iíd like to hear it!

This can be previous/hindsight, current, future, or all of the above.  Maybe you donít work at all, or take piecework/freelance projects, or only work over the summer break, or study PT and work FT Ė everyone does it differently and thereís no right answer.

Below is a question template if you wish to copy-paste.  No pressure to answer questions you don't feel like answering - this is a place for you to share whatever insights and information you feel like!

Code: [Select]
[b]- [u]Degree:[/u][/b] (and possibly include average contact hours)

[b]- [u]Job(s):[/u][/b]

[b]- [u]Average work hours per week:[/u][/b]

[b]- [u]Flexibility:[/u][/b] (How flexible and supportive is your workplace?  Do they offer you more or fewer shifts based on your timetable, holidays, exams etc?  What might your schedule look like on a typical week Ė weekends, evening hours, online work etc?)

[b]- [u]How is it going?[/u][/b] (Is it easy/manageable, or super hard?  How are you finding it?)

[b]- [u]Tips:[/u][/b] (Any advice you've got is fantastic!)

[b]- [u]Other:[/u][/b] (Anything else you want to share, e.g. average income, self-supporting or parent-supported, what you feel you've gained from it, interaction with youth allowance, etc)

VCE 2014: HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

I love you, AN. Keep being cool. <3

heids

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Re: Working during uni: what has it looked like for you?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2020, 04:22:15 pm »
+13
I can't contribute much, as I only did a few months (one semester) in 2016, but I'll still describe it below.

I'm partly asking these questions as I'm currently working FT but planning to return to a uni/work mix in 2021!  Unexpectedly, the plan is to repeat my 2016 experience, beginning a nursing degree again and returning to a part-time/casual PCA job.  I could possibly add some casual retail work over the summers, depending on covid-19 outcomes, but that's getting ahead of myself :P

- Degree: Nursing

- Job(s): PCA (personal care assistant in aged care).  I'd acquired Cert III/IV in aged care in my 2015 gap year, a useful way of getting an industry-relevant job during uni!

- Average work hours per week: Around 20-25, iirc.

- Flexibility: I was already working there before I started uni, so they were helpful.  I was given permanent PT shifts that were expected to change semester to semester based on my timetable.  I gave my employer a list of the days/times I was available to work and was given more shifts than I actually wanted.  I worked one Saturday shift, but the rest were weekday morning shifts (7-1) - I structured my timetable to leave some days of the week completely blank, attending nothing that wasn't 100% compulsory.

- How is it going? It was bad.  I worked too much.  I think I'd handle it better now - I was 18, it was my first job and first uni experience, and I was struggling with a lot of belief changes and mental health issues I didn't yet recognise.  It ended badly.

- Other: I think I was looking at $28-29K annually (gross) on that schedule.  I was still living at home.
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K888

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Re: Working during uni: what has it looked like for you?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2020, 08:02:21 pm »
+11
- Degree: (and possibly include average contact hours)
Physiotherapy. Contact hours originally in the 20s+ and then later down to 10-15. Now no contact hours while not on placement but doing FT hours when on placement.

- Job(s):
Sports trainer/first aid - in first, second and third year
Retail - end of second year through to now (fourth year)

- Average work hours per week:
Sports training - ~10 (Tuesday, Thursday nights and games on weekends)
Retail - anywhere from 5-20. When I had contact hours at uni probably ~5-10 because I was also doing sports training. Atm closer to 20+ because I'm not on placement. When I'm on placement I tend to just work 1 shift a week (5 hours), maybe 2 if I'm needed.

- Flexibility: (How flexible and supportive is your workplace?  Do they offer you more or fewer shifts based on your timetable, holidays, exams etc?  What might your schedule look like on a typical week Ė weekends, evening hours, online work etc?)
Sports training - really chill, flexible if I couldn't make it some nights or needed to do some different hours
Retail - casual so I can just put in my availability, I tend to work friday nights and on weekends. Most employees are uni students so they're pretty understanding of your schedule.

- How is it going? (Is it easy/manageable, or super hard?  How are you finding it?)
It's good. On placement I cut down to one shift/no shifts just because it's so busy, but during usual uni times I've found work and study manageable. IMO it's good to have something to focus on that isn't study. It also helped me make friends.
Honestly I couldn't imagine not working during my degree, I think I'd be really bored lol.

- Tips: (Any advice you've got is fantastic!)
Don't beat yourself up if you need to reduce your hours or whatever because you're struggling. It can be hard to find a balance but once you get into a rhythm it gets much easier!

- Other: (Anything else you want to share, e.g. average income, self-supporting or parent-supported, what you feel you've gained from it, interaction with youth allowance, etc)
I've needed to work because I don't live at home so need to support myself - pay for groceries, other expenses, etc. and I've found the hours I've worked enough to cover this. Some weeks money has been a bit tight but as a uni student you get used to being broke lol.
I don't qualify for Centrelink due to being under 22 and my parents' income is over the threshold, despite the fact I don't (and can't) live at home. I would have to work 30 hours a week to qualify as "independent" when under 22 so just wasn't worth it for me, my parents thankfully support me with my rent.
2017-2020: Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)

katie,rinos

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Re: Working during uni: what has it looked like for you?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2020, 08:18:02 pm »
+12
- Degree: Music/Education

- Job(s): 2015-2018: Monkey Mania-mainly party hosting, cafe, & cleaning.

2019: Waitressing (only for 2 months because the restaurant ended up closing).

October 2019-now: Another play centre that opened in my area, mainly party hosting (havenít had a shift since the middle of March though).

End of April-now: I have one clarinet student that I started teaching this year through zoom for 30min a week which has been really fun!

- Average work hours per week: 3-10ish hours. All of my jobs so far have been casual with no super stable hours. Was kinda dependent on the amount of parties they had.

- Flexibility: Very flexible. Shifts for the play centre jobs were almost always only on weekends. I was able to n/a whenever I needed to. However, I wouldíve preferred a few more shifts sometimes.

- How is it going? Iíve found these jobs pretty manageable to do with uni as Iíve normally only worked 1-2 days a week.

- Other:
I still live at home but Iím considering moving out closer to uni next year. I qualify for the at home youth allowance rate and have gotten that throughout my degree.  Iím hoping to get another job after covid though that has some more stable hours (maybe part time).
Class of 2017 (Year 12): Advanced English, General Maths, Legal Studies, Music 1, Ancient History, History Extension, Hospitality
2018-2022: B Music/B Education (Secondary) [UNSW]

AngelWings

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Re: Working during uni: what has it looked like for you?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2020, 05:07:05 pm »
+9
- Degree:
- Bachelor of Science (2015-2017) - contact hours: around late 10s-mid/late 20s, depending on semester (average around 22-24 hrs)
- Bachelor of Science (Honours) (2018) - contact hours: about 3 hrs, because my project was theoretical

- Job(s):
1st year uni: fast food

Sem 2, 1st year - end of 3rd year: tutoring

End of first year - current: within health industry

- Average work hours per week: varied on many factors, but somewhere between 4-20-something hours per week.

- Flexibility:
- fast food: usually worked over two evenings. On occasion, Iíd work an extra shift. Generally quite accommodating.

- tutoring: once a week, during school term.

- health industry: varied hours but the consistent one was a half day (at least) on the weekend. I did add an extra full day in second year Sem 2 and vowed to never do that again because it was too much on top of the tutoring and 4 units of uni. Generally flexible as long as I warned them in advance. I often went full time in the holidays when I could.

- How was it?
Relatively manageable. As mentioned above, I did try to add more hours in Sem 2 second year and soon realised that wasnít a good idea. Genuinely not sure how I survived and passed all 4 units that semester.

In Honours, I worked around 4-8 hours a week and that struck a much healthier balance.

- Tips:
- Remember your limits and make it OK to say ďnoĒ if you need to. Your physical and mental health remains first and foremost.
- Try to fine tune how many hours make up your work/study/life balance as you go along.
- Worry less about relevant work experience at the beginning of your working life and focus more on what you could learn and how to upskill. Try to find jobs that make you happier while also fulfilling any personal requirements (whether financial or for health reasons) as you switch jobs.
- (not so much about work/ uni balance, but in general) If youíve been looking for jobs during the pandemic and canít, the next best thing is to make good choices in your side hustle(s)/ spare time.

- Other:
- Got YA and lived at home during  uni.
- Originally planned to do PhD or go into research after degree, but diverted to back up plan when things fell through and I ended up enjoying Plan B more.
- Currently working full-time job in science/health industry, and still working the part-time health industry job on the weekends.
- Feel free to PM me about any of the above.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 01:07:53 pm by AngelWings »
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beatroot

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Re: Working during uni: what has it looked like for you?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2020, 10:36:55 pm »
+10
- Degree: (and possibly include average contact hours)
Film (average contact hours: 15hrs/week)

- Job(s):
Retail (since 1st year)
Freelance work (has varied throughout my degree)

- Average work hours per week:
Retail: In first year my average work hours per week was 12hrs. Now my average work hours is 7hrs.
Freelance work: (when I actually get a gig aha) This would be roughly 10hrs more or less- depending on the brief by the client

- Flexibility: (How flexible and supportive is your workplace?  Do they offer you more or fewer shifts based on your timetable, holidays, exams etc?  What might your schedule look like on a typical week Ė weekends, evening hours, online work etc?)
Retail: My retail job is crazy flexible and supportive! They know how much my degree means to me (my co-workers are always asking how my studies are going and if I have any exciting projects coming up) I get more shifts during the holidays and less shifts during the semester. I usually work weekends at my job. I sometimes get weekday night shifts if they need people.
Freelance work: Very flexible since I'm my own boss. Clients are quite flexible with me as well.

- How is it going? (Is it easy/manageable, or super hard?  How are you finding it?)
Retail: Very manageable! Going to work is a nice break from uni work and as much as I joke about quitting my workplace- I actually look forward to each shift, catch up with my co-workers and see what's new at our shop.
Freelance: Very manageable!

- Tips: (Any advice you've got is fantastic!)
- Tell your boss that your studies will always come first. I mean that's what they should have expected when they hire a uni student in the first place. If they keep giving you shifts knowing fully well you're a full time uni student, you might have to re-think your place at your current workplace. Usually bosses are very understanding but if not- it's time to have a think.

- Other: (Anything else you want to share, e.g. average income, self-supporting or parent-supported, what you feel you've gained from it, interaction with youth allowance, etc)
I suppose I'm lucky enough that I still live at home with my parents and that I don't have to pay rent or any bills. So when I am behind on uni work, I can afford to give away my shifts to my co-workers. My work hours per week would definitely be higher if I was living out of home. There's definitely opportunity for me to save a lot of money since I don't pay any rent or bills but I have a really bad habit of spending my money as soon as I get paid. This is definitely that I'm still learning to do. Things will definitely change once I graduate and get full time work. I'm most likely to live at home after graduation so that I can save enough money to move into my own apartment in 3 years time (hopefully)
Which will hold greater rule over you? Your fear or your curiosity?