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Juggling a job and student life

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Many students now have to work during term time to afford the basic necessities, but you need to ensure that you prioritise your studies and don’t undermine all your hard work in the classroom and on your course

The balance between school and work can be a delicate one; adding the commitment of a job to the already stress-filled agenda of nursing school can be a challenge. Yet if finances are a burden, the right balance between a job and university life can help to create a more stable learning environment.

  • A job shouldn’t be a burden

It should be an opportunity to take out fewer loans, and provide you with more opportunity to have a full social life.  After all, socialising will help you to wind down and feel less stressed. And cutting down on loans will diminish future stress and set you up more comfortably for the future. 

But there is a limit as to how much you, as a student, should be working. While it varies from person to person, it’s important not to overload yourself. Look to work around 10 hours a week as a maximum; if you want to work more after that, gradually increase your hours. Remember: while you’re still in university, a job is not your first priority. If you’re finding the balance to be a challenge, talk to your supervisor and see if you can cut back your hours for a few weeks.

  • Find the right one

Finding the job that’s right for you can be a crucial. While you won’t always be doing something you enjoy, it’s good to go for something that isn’t inflexible in hours or more strenuous than you can handle. For example, if you don’t enjoy bustling environments and high-pressure situations, perhaps bartending at a busy bar isn’t the right choice for a weekend job. 

Information and contacts are available through many universities, as well as the Job Centre Plus service, in newspapers and online. There are plenty of opportunities for part-time work in restaurants, retail, bar work, and administration, as well as in administration. Always be sure that you specify that you are a student and would prefer a job with flexible hours; don’t commit to anything you are unable to fulfill. Be objective about how the job is impacting on your studies, and if it isn’t working, then reconsider your options.

  • Understand your tax position 

As a student, you are eligible not to pay any tax if you are working under a certain amount of hours and earning less than your personal allowance. Make sure your employer knows this is your main job and has your tax code to ensure that you don’t pay tax if you are not earning more than your personal allowance.

  • Know your limits

Remember, the most important part about having a job is knowing your limits. Your job should not leave you stressed or feeling unfulfilled. It should, in fact, do the opposite. Your job should reduce your financial woes, teach you how to balance two important situations, and feel rewarding for the time you spend there. 

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