Working a summer sum

Perhaps the most intricate balancing act for many students is working part-time whilst studying and maintaining a social life. It becomes a particular concern over the summer break.

Having maintained a part-time job since the age of 15, juggling responsibilities is no novelty to me. However, what is new is the feeling of isolation I now find paired with the work. Seeing friends from different socio-economic backgrounds to me always out socialising, on holidays abroad or even just enjoying summer alone at home has been a culture shock for me. University combines a diverse range of people, with different family and personal finances to consider. Norfolk itself is home to 16 private schools, many of which offer boarding, which often means these students are familiar with the experience of returning home from study for the summer to a fully catered household. Though it may seem the

opposite, this experience is the minority, so you shouldn’t be disheartened in your search for summer work.

I have, however, made a few changes to my usual summer work habits this year. Firstly, I’ve substituted the endless weekend and evening shifts in retail or hospitality for the holiday, choosing instead to work full- time for a shorter period. A distinct benefit to this method is in the experience gained; summer camps or youth experiences such as NCS are not only personally rewarding but also fantastic to put on your CV. Genuine skills such as leadership, resilience, empathy and creativity are required in such roles, and if you don’t have them before working on the program, you’ll certainly have learnt them when you leave. Similarly, if you’re a music-lover, you may want to consider working at music festivals such as Latitude- sign- ups usually open around February for this particular event, and require a small refundable deposit, but are definitely better value than buying a full weekend ticket.

With so many summer work options out there, how do you navigate which are best suited to you? Note your priorities: do you want to spend time with your friends, abroad in the sun or at home with family? Are you looking to save up or spend it? Asking yourself these questions will ensure you apply to the most relevant (and enjoyable) summer jobs for you. As with any work, my advice is to apply to everything you like the look of- you will likely get rejections, but if you’re organised and persevere, you’ll find what’s right for you!

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Libby Hargreaves

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August 2022
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