A Job: Essential for being a student?

Having listened to Episode 1 of this podcast, 99% Perspiration, by the award-winning Jay Sykes, it got me thinking.

Volunteering is something that is thrust towards students when they start as a fresher and throughout their university career. There are numerous opportunities to get involved in and these are advertised both internally and externally by businesses. At my university, we have regular volunteering fairs so we can meet organisations who are currently looking for volunteers.

I’m a volunteering addict. I’m definitely an active volunteer. I enjoy giving my time to others. I’ve had one part-time job during my first year of my social work degree at university but most of my time was spent volunteering. There were many reasons as to why that was…

But the question, I’m asking is “Is a job essential for being a student?”.

There are many factors that can affect the outcome of this question. Funding is one of them. The way the government has set up university funding means that some students can get more money than others. I get the top rate of loan and I was lucky enough to get a scholarship last year. I didn’t feel like I needed a job but I wanted one. Some people at university have to work in order to pay rent etc. So some may say that they need a job to get through university. Paid employment does have its benefits in that respect.

If funding was covered, would there be any other reasons why a job would be essential? We are driven by capitalism, that’s indefinite unfortunately, so personally I can’t see any other reason that standing out.

After some thinking, I thought about why I volunteer. To gain skills and experience. A job offers this too. Why not gain skills and experience whilst getting paid for it? It seems to be one of the benefits of having a job whilst studying. If the job is relevant to your degree then it’s even better.

If it’s a part-time job in a pub or restaurant, then you can gain transferable skills. Communication, listening, problem solving etc. You can gain experience from everywhere. It is better if your job is related to your degree in my opinion, but a job is a job and it shows that you have time-management and illustrates that you care about extra-curricular activities.

Finding a job is difficult, so the other option you have is being an intern whilst you are at university. This could be during the summer or you can do it when you aren’t studying. I interned this summer at a charity that works with young people who are homeless and it was brilliant. I worked full-time for 4 weeks and got paid for it. It’s a short-term fix that can lead to a long-term job.

However you gain experience and skills within your industry, a job is not essential unless you want a few extra pennies in your pocket. If there’s one thing you take from this post, remember “a degree is not enough anymore”. 


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