Studying and working part-time, a question of priorities

According to Statistics Canada, one Canadian in seven pursuing higher studies will abandon them before graduating, often even in the first year. These failures are frequently the result of financial difficulties that disrupt and penalize the students. Here are some tips to partially finance your studies without hurting your academic results. 

Do you want to devote yourself fully to your studies but don’t have the resources? You first need to review the number of courses that you want to follow in order to know how many hours of work you can invest. What are your needs and what time do you have available? Will you have the time and energy to earn a living while studying for an exam? Be careful about what happens if your parallel activity takes over. A large majority of students decide to work only a limited number of hours to avoid disrupting their schedule.

The solution lies in organization, in managing your priorities. Establish a full schedule of hours required for your studies and look at what jobs could be a match for you. Limit your working hours or else take fewer courses than usual. Organization calls for sacrifices. University counsellors generally recommend that their students not set aside more than fifteen hours per week for work in order to pursue their studies full time. The choice of job is therefore crucial, since it defines the terms of work-studies cohabitation.

Some people seek positions in companies that they would eventually like to join, within their field of choice or study. These positions are very popular and undergraduate students are rubbing shoulders with trainees.

Others seek part-time work in a field that offers a limited number but sufficient hours of work. Restaurants, stores, customer service centres…  These jobs are often difficult and their wages often stagnate at the provincial legal minimum.

However, the jobs are not all unpleasant and can also be very rewarding. By obtaining a certificate such as the TESOL you can teach English to newly arrived immigrants and with a minimum of training you can become a YMCA instructor or an orderly at a hospital. Municipalities also seek to fill positions in libraries, parks, pools, especially during the summer.

Finally, universities offer some of the best jobs for students. They introduce students to the world of work while keeping them in the academic sphere. Throughout the academic year, these institutions hire assistants, secretaries, translators, nurses,… These positions are partially reserved for students who are in a precarious financial situation. Made to fit perfectly with academic life, these jobs are never vacant for long.

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