Getting a job at University

by Maddie Lukes
06 November 2014

A heavy Freshers' week, the cost of new books, buying a sports kit and the frankly, alarmingly close proximity to Westfield Shopping Centre, were all doing horrible things to my bank account. By the end of the first few weeks at Roehampton, I decided I needed a job... urgently!

I signed up to a website with local job opportunities that were university approved. I quickly found an ad looking for someone to care for two children a few days a week. It was the perfect job, I love children and they were only a 10 minute cycle away. I called up, arranged an interview and after meeting the family a few times, I got the job. This was terrifying to start off with. I was thrown in at the deep end with an eight year old, a ten year old, a hamster and vast hordes of their interchangeable friends. As Georgie confidently told her mum after a few weeks, "Maddie is so funny because she always burns the food and can't get the smoke alarm to stop."

Me and the two girls I was looking after

Me and the two girls I was looking after

There have been ups and downs over the last two years. Most notably the time I was forced to tell their mum that her youngest child had been mugged by some teenagers on her way back from the post box (turns out it was Georgie's idea of a 'hilarious joke'). But this has been, out of all others, the most rewarding job by far, and I'm already so sad that I will have to leave this lovely family when I graduate.

I've found that my job has been great in maintaining a comfortable standard of living while at uni. It meant I didn't have to eat 'prison noodles' - the own-brand instant noodles you can buy in Asda for a couple of pence. By spending a sensible proportion of my free time earning money, I've had a totally different university experience than if I had tried to survive on my student loan. Clearly though, it's important to get the balance right. There's no point exhausting yourself at work and then not being able to meet deadlines or concentrate in lectures. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am not at university to earn money - I am there to get a degree so I can earn MORE money later!

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