Part Time Jobs: Can You Afford to Work And Study?

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The economy is roaring along, afloat a tide of potential money. It’s roaring too for workers, whoever and from wherever to feed its monstrous appetite for productivity. The full-time work-force is at stretching point, the Celtic Phoenix demands students to fill the vacancies that nobody else wants if they can avoid them: burger making, all-night security shifts, convenience shop till-keeping, office cleaning… The money is tempting; college life can get expensive and god help you if you want to maintain a social life on top of it… However, before the poster gets you and you’ve signed up with your CV, think of whether you’ll have time to do all the things you reckon these readies will allow – and study at the same time. Remember, you are in college after all to learn and to pass exams. There’s a lot of fun, sure, to be had while you’re at it, but let’s get things straight first and heed the bit of puzzling that follows.

The cost of living as a student is high

Penny-pinching by the government has had Irish students scrimping and scraping their bean-eating days through college – if they manage to get to the graduation day by the end. Students will have to have an adequate amount of money if they’re to be happy and to perform to their best ability while in college. The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has frequently berated Minister for Finance for failing to improve what they see as inadequate student grants in the recent Budget.

According to a recent survey by the USI, 95.3% of students think the cost of college is too high at €11,000 per year, and 72% of students are struggling financially to stay in college.

“73% is an alarming percentage of students who are experiencing depression and anxiety because of the high cost of college.” USI president, Kevin Donoghue, said, “€ 11,000 a year for a college course or €33,000 – €77,000 for a degree is an enormous cost for a young person. We are calling on the government to raise grants, reduce the registration fee of €3,000 and address the student accommodation crisis. This will improve the mental health of students by reducing the anxiety and depression rates caused by the cost of education.”

A whopping 15.2% of those living below the poverty line in Ireland are students (NERI, 2015) while rent has risen by 8.2% nationally over the last twelve months. If fees go up, 63% of students said they won’t be able to attend college.

Looking for work?

There’s never been a better time to get yourself a part-time job if you are a student. Supermarkets, convenience stores, pubs, offices, cleaning companies, security firms… these businesses would probably struggle if it was it not for the student population eager to corner some badly needed cash. The short-term necessity of having dinero for the land-lady or keeping hunger from your door may get you in the end. If you’re working, you’ll obviously have to cut back on the time you spend studying and even relaxing with newfound college mates.

The cost of Part Time Jobs

And for those who think they can burn the candle at both ends, well that just may not work. Last minute cram studying should be the last option. It’s a waste of time too, according to recent research by Harvard University, unless you sleep. According to Dr Robert Stickgold, Director of Harvard study, “It seems that memories normally wash out of the brain unless some process nails them down. My suspicion is that sleep is one of those things that does the nailing down.”

The research concludes that studying is effective only if done regularly, not simply the night before an exam. USI advise students to get a good night’s sleep before their exams. The hardy student, however, may get by on just a few hours sleep. Professor Cary Cooper of the University of Manchester, in his study of this subject, argues that very few students actually work through the night, with most opting for at least a few hours sleep.

Can you balance a packed timetable?

So, what’s it going to be folks? Can you earn enough during the summer to keep you in books and beans (the odd bit of booze too you say) while you do your once in a life-time student-days learning experience? Do your folks have enough readies to see you by…? Start deciding now and figure out if you can balance work, study and social life when you get to college. And do leave some time to sleep!


By Mark Godfrey


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