I interviewed a working student on what life is really like for someone who has to balance both work and college
How did you get the job?
I got the job because my cousin worked there and one day they were very busy so needed someone to come in and help, so my cousin called me in and that happened couple of times and eventually I was asked did I want to work there part time.
Do you keep your wages for yourself or are they used to help pay for some of the expenses of college?
All of my wages are used to pay for some sort of college expense, whether it be rent, food or a night out. I spend 24 euro a week just getting to and from college at the weekend. My SUSI grant doesn’t even cover my rent so I need to use my wages to pay the rest of the rent.
Do you know many other students that work?
Many of my friends work. One of my friends is in college in Dublin and she rarely gets to come home and because rent is so expensive in Dublin she works in a hotel as a chef at the 4 days a week.
Is it hard to balance college life and work?
When I first started college my cousin and I were working both Saturday and Sunday but we were finding it hard to both balance college assignments and seeing families while working both days of the weekend. So we decided to ask our boss would it be possible to for us to work one day a weekend in term time. Our boss understood greatly and he now has hired two other girls that are in college as well and they work the day me and my cousin don’t work.
Do you think that your wages are exploited because of the fact that you’re a student?
At the moment, I don’t feel my wages are being exploited. I get minimum wage plus tips but I do feel that because I’m the youngest at work I get less breaks than anyone else.
Do you feel you miss out when you have to come home and work?
Sometimes I feel like I miss out on family time, my mam and dad are usually away on a Saturday so when I work on a Sunday I barely see them that weekend. Also when my friends meet up or go out it’s usually on a Saturday night but when I know I have an event coming up or a day I cant work, I tell my boss a couple of weeks in advance and he swaps me to work the other day of the weekend.
Do you think that work puts extra pressure on students?
It depends on what type of work a student does but I think working does puts pressure on students. I suppose working now will give us an insight on how life will be like after college
What advice would you give to someone who is a student and just after becoming employed?
The best advice I can give to a student that is working in their hometown while at college is to make sure you clearly state what days you are in college, you will be surprised with the amount of times you will get a phone call asking to work a weekday. Also if you need to get a bus on a Sunday evening make sure you tell your employer what time your bus is at. My bus on a Sunday is at half 6 so every Sunday I work my boss lets me off at 6 so I will be able to get my bus on time.
If given the opportunity would you leave your employment?
In the future I see myself leaving to find somewhere else because obviously I don’t want to work at this particular job for the rest of my time as a student but at the moment I need money for college.