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Student Life at WGU: Working While Studying

Pretty much everyone assumes that students spend most of their time getting drunk and partying.

Which can be true - but not for me (although I’m not saying that I have never been in this situation.)

To make ends meet, I had to work. Which means that while all my friends were out in town having fun, I was at work.

I had various different jobs whilst studying. I worked in a factory, in a night club, as a nanny, and so on. The more experience I was getting, the more I learned what kind of job I really didn’t want. As well as how much I valued my time and didn’t feel like wasting it with a meaningless job. I was after something that made me feel like I was doing anything BUT wasting my time, and helping others. Something that gave me a better sense of purpose and community. So I turned to care work and social work.

Often, a part time job as a student is a way to earn some extra cash while at university. Which was also the case for me, but it was also a question of surviving. My family couldn’t afford to support me in a foreign country, and unlike everybody else in my lecture group, I did not get any funding from the university straight away due to my circumstances – me not being in the UK for three years prior to the start of my course.

So yes, at the time, I had to sacrifice my social life, as well as trying hard to balance work, university work and volunteering. But well, sadly money doesn’t grow on trees. Did I struggle? Of course. Finding the perfect balance between earning enough money to support myself, saving for my future and getting the best of my university experience, was, at the time, far from being easy. But it was also really beneficial, because while my friends were getting drunk, I was learning how to be responsible. Which is a skill we will all need in life.

Working while studying also gave me work experience, which is a plus for great work opportunities. After graduation, I will already have some work experience to show off on my CV. It also gave me such skills as being able to work in team, communication skills, and the ability to relate to people from different backgrounds. It helped with my confidence, taught me how to stay calm under any form of pressure. I also met some fantastic people while working, which turned out to be really great for my social life. Interacting with people in general also became more easy and enjoyable.

Currently I am working for a health care agency. The agency I am working for is a recruitment and service provider operating in both the private and public sectors. The offer flexible work to suit my availability which was perfect for me. So I worked (and still work for them) as a carer, a recovery practitioner, and a project worker. It’s not the easiest job of all time but at the end of the day, it’s rewarding.

Working while studying allowed me to have control of my financial life and plan better for my future. It gave me essential employability skills, and it also looks pretty good on my CV.

About the author

Ophélie Lawson

Ophélie Lawson

Ophélie Lawson is a 23-year-old broadcasting, journalism and media communications student at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. Born in France and raised in Paris, Ophélie enjoys low cost travel and her dream is to make documentaries.