Many of us did two semesters a year in campus. That means, we had a four-month long break. What did you do during yours? For many this is the time to catch up on seasons of their favourite series, drink unlimited alcohol knowing very well that they do not have classes, visit one friend after another, or reconnect with family members they haven’t seen in years.
There is however something else you should consider doing over long holidays or even during weekends. This is getting a part time job. Many students fear the idea of having a part-time job while in campus. For some, it is because they fear the added responsibility, others have misplaced priorities, while others are just lazy. Whether the job is directly linked to your career or not, getting a part time job, or side hustle is very beneficial, in the long-run for several reasons.
In practically every job, you will work with people. Maybe you are naturally very introverted and prefer to keep to yourself or working with others isn’t your thing, but people skills are skills that you will have to learn at some point in your life and the sooner you do the better.
Right now you may find learning to deal with different kinds of people annoying, but it is something you will need not just in your future jobs but in life in general. You will meet all kinds of people, be it the know it all’s, easily offended, jokers, workaholics, perfectionists, etc.
You will find that by the time you graduate, you have an edge, over someone who has never worked before, or has worked very little. This is because your transition into full time work will be much easier.
If you ask anyone who works while they are still a student, juggling between the two is never easy, and quite a number of times, there are times when the two clash, and difficult decisions have to be made. This may be at the expense of one or the other, for example, you may have to defer a semester, or slow down or cancel some orders or gigs if they come during the end of semester exams.
In spite of all this, obtaining a part-time job will improve your time management skills. Time is limited for everyone, but some people seem to be able to do it all. These multi-talented multi skilled super humans, do not have an extra five hours a day, they simply prioritize what they want to do within a certain period of time, and get it done. Time management skills are necessary for all areas of life from school to work to having a social life.
What do you do on weekends? What of those students, who always negotiate with lecturers every semester, to ensure all classes end by Thursday? Most of you will not be seen anywhere near campus until Monday, unless there is an assessment test, or project to be handed in. What do you do with your time? A number of them, will be found, drinking, or idling their time away in the hostels, at home, or in their flats. Time is always there, it is up to you to use it well in a beneficial manner and get your priorities right. When you enjoy doing something you will always make time for it no matter how busy you are. Balancing work, school and a social life can be difficult but with time and practise you will arrive at a healthy balance.
Making money is wonderful. You now have money to buy things that you want and to go out with your friends more. Money is however not a bottomless pit, and so learning financial responsibility is important.
Learning how to manage, save, and invest money at a young age is absolutely necessary. Saving money may at first, seem impossible, mostly because of the temptation to spend money on things you want (and peer pressure) rather than on things you need. Financial responsibility is an often painful and difficult skill that takes time to learn. If it is possible, seek a financial mentor to guide you when you start working.
When many students apply for their first internships, usually the compulsory ones in third year, most of them usually have had no professional work experience.
When searching for a job, you will find that many require at least one or two years’ experience. Experience will not magically fall onto your lap. You have to work to get it, and you have to be open minded while at it. Your first job or internship may not necessarily be what you had in mind, and yes you may struggle at first, but the skills, you will learn are priceless.
Each volunteering or internship opportunity, is an opportunity to learn. You will be able to take away several skills that are helpful in any career that you may enter into.
Learning about yourself
You will learn a lot about yourself. These may include how you work with others, your endurance, level, what you prefer in a work environment, how to deal with stressful situations, and possibly even how to work with technology.
As scary as getting a job may seem to you now, take a leap and apply for those jobs, even if they don’t interest you completely. Everyone has to start somewhere. You are also likely to learn new interests and skills, which may come in handy, in future or lead you to even better opportunities.
There have been many people who have discovered their passion while doing other things. You however, will not discover anything, by time wasting and idling.
Getting a job while in campus, will also teach you responsibility. It will help you grow up, and not leave campus void of any life skills. Right now, you are cushioned from the hard realities of life, courtesy of your parents and HELB, but when your time in campus is up, there will be no HELB money, and your parents (if they can afford it or are nice enough) will give you a soft landing for a while.
This is of course not an excuse for laziness, they expect you to go out there and do something constructive with your life, whether they tell it to your face or not. After all, they did not pay your school fees, for at least four years, for you to come and lounge on the chair all day. After all you are now an adult, and your parents will not be there forever to pamper you.