Should I quit my job when uni starts?

February 19, 2016
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Work sucks, I know. But so does having no money. Luckily, as students, most of us are only really studying for around nine months of the year, leaving a reasonable period during summer to try and scrape some money together in order to survive the study months. But should you keep working when uni starts? Well, you have to pay for those textbooks somehow. Plus, it may turn out that your job is equally as valuable as your degree.

“But studying is my job,” says the very serious student.

While that may be the case for anyone who can stay completely financially sustained, many of us need cash flow to keep us going. And the reality is that even Centrelink isn't enough to live on if you're totally independent. Here are a few reasons to keep on working.

Saving for winter

You can potentially work flat over the summer and save enough to live for the rest of the year. But wouldn't it just be easier to consistently spread that out over the year? It’ll also give you a bit of variety when all that studying gets too much.

But what about Centrelink?

The uni lifestyle is great, and if you’re on Centrelink it's even better. Living purely off Centrelink is borderline doable, but it’s not fun – once you pay rent, there’s usually very little left over. Living out of home is great, but there is financial pressure always looming over you. Having a job year-round, and consistent cash flow, will make you independent and more confident.

Life lessons about the workplace

There are things you have to learn that uni can't teach you, and you can save a lot of time by working during uni and learning them before you properly enter the job market. You’ll learn about teamwork, as well as working independently, managing your own schedule, customer or client service and more. Working while you're at uni may even make you a better uni student: time management and working with new people are skills that apply to uni as much as they do to having a job.

Working while studying at the same time will also teach you valuable time management skills. Learning to balance multiple commitments is a skill that will take you far in your future career, and will likely impress future employers.

Even if your job is sucky, you're probably absorbing some useful skills - even if it's just being friendly and talking to people more. Having a job builds character and makes you a more well-rounded person. So while you may feel like you should spend all your time studying at uni, you'll probably just end up burnt out and poor. And you never know - your job during uni may turn out to be the springboard you need to jump into your future career.

Sam Talbot

Sam Talbot is a law and media student at the University of Adelaide. He highly values all-day breakfasts. Twitter with him @SamTalbot5.

Image: EinstrausFlickr Creative Commons license