No Time for Part Time?

Original article at ‘York Vision’

 

For most, summer was a time where the average human being would spend their days relaxing with a Rocket Lolly in the sun and sweating life’s troubles away. For the common student, we spend ours working towards a near-death experience in order to give us some disposable income for the coming autumn term and ease some of the pressure off of our sacred student loan.

 

That work dilutes itself during term to a part time job in the hope of continuing that task – but does the common student have time for part time? Or should we put our Rocket Lolly where our mouth is?

Recently, there’s been quite a kerfuffle (thank you, Little Britain) as to whether students should have part time jobs. York encourage it, Oxbridge highly discourage it. Guardian Students and Best Education News each have their own individual debates arguing out both sides of the part time coin. Can’t everyone just get along? Things aren’t so simple.

Personally, I have had a part time job ever since I was sixteen and continue to do so at uni. With average amounts of contact hours, average amounts of ‘outside reading’ and a less-than-average bank balance, a part time job gives my life a bit o’ balance. That’s just the point – it’s personal to my needs. Choosing a part time job was as personal to me as choosing my subject, or choosing not to ‘DOWN IT, FRESHER’. It may be different to someone else.

In going to university, we decide to cater our lifestyle in a certain way, with a dedicated student union acting for each of us, and the university as a whole, to do just that. Placing a ban underpins that autonomy we have to create the experience we craft individually during or time here and contradicts the whole concept of student democracy. Why have individual colleges with individual stances if we are just to place an ‘all for one and one for all’ rule?

In terms of finance, it introduces another factor into the mix which may impact on future applications for university, just as the introduction of higher fees did in 2012. To ban part-time jobs at university may make it too difficult for some students to even start their studies, let alone survive on a diet of super noodles and a half finished coke can from the night before.

If universities don’t want to make it umpteen times more difficult than what it was for our parents’ generation, then attention needs to be diverted towards increased bursaries and grants, cheaper Efes pizza and free cover charges for clubs. A guy can dream, can’t he?

Finance aside, part-time jobs themselves are actually incredibly beneficial. Sites such as Linkedin are staple examples that employers are looking for students to build a portfolio of themselves and show the world that they didn’t just spend their time intimidating ducks on campus. Having a part time job as an extra-curricular activity is one thing; potentially having paid experience in an industry you want to progress to is much better.

The job market is more competitive than it ever has been and universities would be bold in placing a ban on something that two thirds of students have and potentially need.

Might I suggest banning tuition fees instead?

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