For the majority of us, employment alongside study is an essential aspect of life at university. This might be because you need to fill that all-important CV. Or, it might simply be that you need the income to sustain a student life! Either way, it’s well worth considering what the options are in advance of arriving at university. In this blog, I’ll discuss some of the options available at York.
York has ample opportunity for regular work during term time. Due to the amount of bars, pubs and clubs in York (there’s supposedly one for every day of the year), bar work is an extremely popular option for many students. It is also ideal because shifts are typically in the evening and so don’t interfere with your contact hours. However it can also mean late nights, which might not suit your timetable, especially those of you with 9ams! Other major employers include supermarkets (conveniently located near student housing) as well opportunities more unique to York such as the racecourse – these can mean weekend work rather than evenings which may work better for you and your timetable.
Alternatively, a lot of students get paid work at the university itself. This can be on a regular basis at the YUSU shop (York University Student Union) or the campus bars. On a more sporadic basis, you can represent the University on Open Days and applicant days (or even writing blogs, like me!). Whilst this isn’t necessarily a regular source of income, working for your department as an ambassador can be a great way of getting involved and getting to know lecturers and other students on your course.
Having said this, my experience of working as a student doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work during (already rather busy) term time. If you have an existing employer at home then it is well worth discussing the possibility of returning when you go back for the holiday periods – especially Christmas and summer when they may need some extra staff. In my view, this is the best way to be employed as a student because it means that employment doesn’t get in the way of your various sports, societies and, of course, study workload.
If you are more interested in filling your CV than financial gain then volunteering can also make for valuable employment. Volunteering opportunities are often more varied and can relate specifically to your area of study. For example lots of students in my Department work in local conservation groups, such as St Nicks. The university promote a range of community and teaching based programmes that are open to all students through the Careers webpage.
If you’re already content with your CV and you don’t have time to allocate to part-time work then there’s still scope for making a bit of informal pocket money here and there. For example students can get paid informally to advertise club events which can be as easy as distributing flyers around your college, mates or sports team. York is also busy with buskers and what’s more, York is one of few cities where you don’t require a license. So if you play music then it’s definitely worth considering bringing your gear along.
The final point I would raise though is that too much work can become damaging to your study and social life, particularly as workloads increase in second and third year. So if you are going to work, as many students here do, then make sure you don’t let it take over.