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Future Voices: Life working part time while in full-time education

PUBLISHED: 11:00 16 February 2017

Piggy bank and stack of books

Piggy bank and stack of books

(C) 2007 Thinkstock Images

Three shifts in, and I had already decided (through my inexperienced assumptions) that I had an eternal hatred of work.

I came home at the end of a long day and moodily loosened my imaginary neck tie, like a 40-year old in a melancholy-looking stock image.

“That’s it. I’m doomed,” I thought to myself.

“Am I lazy? Or am I cynical? Or am I just completely unwilling to contribute significantly to the capitalist hierarchy?”

Standing up for hours in uncomfortable shoes, I pictured seven-year-old Sarah – arranging lemonade signs and glasses on a pop-up table that I would construct on my front lawn.

I didn’t imagine future Sarah washing the grease and food crumbs from knives and other kitchen utensils (that I felt far too inexperienced to be handling), internally screaming “SO TIRED!”

I pictured myself in the cockpit of a fighter plane, or protesting for better wages in Bangladesh — you know, exciting stuff.

And as I watched my year 12 coursework pile up on our bombshell of a dining table — I realised that I was not going about this the right way.

I had an epiphany - working a part-time job and attending full-time education is harder than it seems.

As someone who has wanted to earn my own income since I was basically a foetus, it was hard to accept that maybe I’m not ready to be pooling my limited energy into the world of work while I’m trying to maintain focus at school.

If you are a young person reading this right now and thinking ‘that’s me’, I want you to know that there are alternatives to working a part-time job if you aren’t ready to jump into the world of paid work.

Finding work experience and volunteering opportunities at charities, trusts and other organisations is a great way to dip your toe in and gain experience in working with other people — without the strict time commitment of paid work.

Click to find out more about part time jobs, volunteering and work experience opportunities.

1 comment

  • Dear Sarah, thanks for an interesting article and for sharing your experience. I had a part-time job from 16 all the way through university. Sometimes it was tiring and difficult to balance the two, but stick with it; it will become easier and you'll become better and juggling the conflicting demands of study and work. For me it was simple; if I didn't work part time I wouldn't have been able to afford to go to university. I wanted to be an architect desperately and university was the only way. I was the first person in our family to go to university and my parents were not in a position to help me, so I had to help myself. Bear with it, the experience will serve you well throughout your life.

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