Studying is hard. Let’s be real, the ‘maintenance loans’ barely cover costs so most people (like myself) end up getting part-time jobs to fill in the gaps. That brings on loads of issues because then you’re studying full-time AND working part-time (in sometimes 2 or 3 jobs), which doesn’t leave a lot of time for you! This blog is a little insight into how I’m making money whilst studying, and hopefully you can apply these three resources to suit your own field of work too.
In my opinion, it's all about balance, priorities, and looking after your mental health. Here's why:
Balance and priorities. If you're like the majority of people, you're probably getting into A LOT of student debt just to be at uni, so of course you're going to want to do well and try your best to succeed! In order to do that, you need to have clear focus, AKA make sure you have enough time to complete your assignments and do them as well as possible. It seems like such an easy one, but actually when the £ is low, it can be easier to skip class and do an extra shift somewhere else, but then you might get behind.....Bit of a catch 22 here, but I guess if you prepare well (in terms of finances and schedules) it might make things a little bit easier.
Mental health. BURN-OUT IS REAL. I'll be looking into this more in depth in an upcoming blog, but ultimately - look after yourself, take time and don't overload yourself! It can be so easy to say yes to everything, but sometimes learning to say no is a skill in itself (I'm still learning that one!).
Waffling done, let's get on to my three top tips/resources:
#1: University Platform/Forum
Some universities have platforms where students, alumni and business people can connect, for example, at BIMM they have 'BIMM Connect' where you can find out about masterclasses/internships/volunteer work/paid work - lots of different things! Universities might also have student groups where they post opportunities for students to get involved in. My own examples of this type of work include gaining paid work in student mentoring (to help younger students navigate Uni life), monitoring the Unibuddy platform (to speak to potential students about which course might be suitable for them and what BIMM Uni life is like in Birmingham), ambassador work (showing newcomers around the building and answering questions), student rep work (if you're lucky, the uni might even offer incentives for attending and providing feedback consistently, such as Just Eat vouchers ££££), to name a few. Basically, keep up to date with posts, see what's going on and where you can help out, you never know - it might lead to something good!
#2: Speak To Your lecturers
They're teaching you for a reason right?! They have knowledge in a particular field of work (and most still work professionally anyway, alongside teaching duties). After my first year of studies it was suggested by one of my teachers that I applied for a music publishing internship. Thankfully, I got the position, the internship ended up being a part-time job that I love! With it being in the same field as my studies it's a perfect fit for me as I'm always learning something new.
#3: Be Pro-active
What are you studying and what experience do you already have in that field? Can you offer your services? As a mature student, I had the upper hand (slightly) with this as I was already working professionally prior to studying, so I could offer my services as a singer/performer and get paid as well as studying. If gigs aren't your thing, maybe there's something else that you could do to make a bit of money on the side? I know I'm speaking with a focus on music here, but it can translate to many other areas.
#EXTRA: Sustainable Fashion
Just an extra one for you here! Something that really has helped me get through uni, and change my wardrobe/style often is buying and selling on Marketplaces like Vinted. It's a great way to shop sustainably, your old clothes get a new lease of life and you can make a bit of extra cash to either save or spend as you want. Just a little something extra to think about for those items you no longer use.
Put simply, Uni life can be a struggle, but loads of people are going through the same struggles so you're not alone! Talk to your peers, your teachers, your friends - or heck, even google blogs like this and reach out to have a chat! Most people only go to uni once, so you want to make the best of your experience and enjoy it while you can. Much love!