I can't offer any insights on what half of the maintenance loan covers, but working 16h a week is definitely doable if you are prepared to manage your time exceptionally well. Personally, I found that I had better grades and more focus when I was working (I am now on furlough) as it gave a structure to my week and I had to always stay on schedule because I knew I did not have much time to waste. It is definitely tougher than not working at all, but obviously it isn't an option to many, including myself. Regarding working in the first year, I don't think it would be any more challenging academically than working in any other years, but it would mean you will have to miss a lot of social activities your peers will most likely engage in, such as society-related stuff, sport, night outs, last-minute plans etc, which could be really difficult. I only started working in my second year, and by then I had a well established social circle, tried out everything I wanted in my first year in terms of societies, and only stuck to the ones I was super committed to. Working in first year might prevent you from getting an insight into everything that interests you, which I imagine could feel quite bad, but again, if there is no way you can afford not to work, it is something that will have to be sacrificed. But again, academically it's perfectly fine.
Sorry this might be a stupid question but do societies happen after school or during the weekend, because I was planning on doing 8hr morning shifts on sat and sunday. I dont really want to miss out on the socialising so idk right now....but I will defo have to work maybe just 12 hours?
It really depends on the uni and the societies, maybe you could ask someone who already goes there, or check out the timetables/events of the societies you know you would want to join. At Warwick where I am a student, all parties/activities/socials happened during the weektime, and everything was a bit more chill during the weekend. For example, there were big night outs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and I was doing sports on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons, so the weekends were totally free (usually spend on catching up with lectures and stuff ) I worked 4-hour lunchtime shifts almost every weekday, and I found that worked really well with my schedule, but obviously, it's only possible if you do not have many contact hours and if you have a lot of freedom when organising your timetable. It all just depends on the course, socials and your job, but it is always possible to found a setup that works well or at least okayish, you just have to find what that is for you