Second Year Survival Series – Part One, A Part Time Job

This is the first in our four part series looking at how to get through your second year with a well rounded CV but also a good mark, and we’re beginning with looking at part time work. During this series we’re going to be focusing in on four case studies from current third year students about their second year experience and what they’ve done in and around their studies. This week we have Steph who works in a BP garage.steph-pic

Hi, my name is Steph and I’m currently a 3rd year geography student. My interests in geography are focused around meteorology and climatology, although I am also studying river processes and environmental justice this year too. My dissertation is analysing the trends in rainfall over the past 30 years in Cumbria and East Anglia. Basically I just enjoying studying rainfall – trust me its more interesting than it sounds!! My plans for the future are to apply for a masters course in applied meteorology and climatology to then apply for graduate jobs in this area of work – but no, I don’t want to be a weather girl as many people seem to say to me!


How have you found balancing a job with your academic work?

At first I thought that it would be difficult to balance a job with my academic work, and at times it definitely was especially when I had multiple essays due in and an 8 hour shift to work the day before the deadline! However, after a bit of adjustment, balancing the two became a lot easier. I just had to learn to organise my time more efficiently and in some ways having a job has made me more motivated to complete my academic work because I know I can’t just leave it until the weekend because I have work. It also means that I appreciate time to relax a lot more!

How have you found that your part time job that’s seemingly completely irrelevant to your career plans has improved your skill set?

Having a part time job has definitely improved my CV and skill set. Showing you can balance a job with your degree is definitely something that will impress employers. It teaches you organisation and time management skills. Working in retail can be very stressful at times especially when it is extremely busy meaning you learn to remain calm under pressure. My confidence and communication skills have also developed which are extremely important skills to have as a graduate. Working within a business gives you an insight into the working world and how to deal with a variety of different situations and different customers. Although working in retail may seem miles away from the field of work I want to eventually go into, it provides me with so many essential transferable skills which will be invaluable when applying for graduate jobs. Also, sometimes it is just nice to be able to socialise with people who aren’t currently at university!

So be it working behind Joe’s bar, dressing up in a spiderman outfit to advertise pizza, or writing blogs for the careers network, part time work is really valuable, and also a great source of cash!!! Many retailers are advertising Christmas work, so if you want a break from those essays, dust off your CV and get applying!

If you’d like more information then there’s a database of jobs here from the guild and CV advice here!


About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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