The Student Room Group

Working in 2nd year while studying CS

Hi, so I'm going on to my second year of uni, and I'm staying in accommodation so I'll have to work to pay all of my living costs, as my maintenance loan only covers rent. I would have to work about 20 hours a week to pay for everything else. Obviously, I'm also planning on attending all my lectures, so I'm just wondering how much time I would have outside of that to study (given that I have uni 5 days a week) and just have enough free time to remain sane. People have been telling me that I'll slack and fail uni if I go to work for that long in a week but if I don't work that long I won't be able to afford to attend uni in the first place... Anyone who is or has been in my position, please tell me how it was/is for you and if you've got any tricks to balancing out your life and keeping your studies in check. (Feedback especially helpful if you did computer science but not limited to that ofc)
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, so I'm going on to my second year of uni, and I'm staying in accommodation so I'll have to work to pay all of my living costs, as my maintenance loan only covers rent. I would have to work about 20 hours a week to pay for everything else. Obviously, I'm also planning on attending all my lectures, so I'm just wondering how much time I would have outside of that to study (given that I have uni 5 days a week) and just have enough free time to remain sane. People have been telling me that I'll slack and fail uni if I go to work for that long in a week but if I don't work that long I won't be able to afford to attend uni in the first place... Anyone who is or has been in my position, please tell me how it was/is for you and if you've got any tricks to balancing out your life and keeping your studies in check. (Feedback especially helpful if you did computer science but not limited to that ofc)

Hiya,

This is a tricky situation you're in. At Lancaster, it's not really recommended to work more than about 10 hours a week because we're expected to spend about 40 hours on our studying per week.

If you are not in the position to do this, can you find a job throughout the breaks to top-up your savings. I work every summer to help me afford uni throughout the year. Is this something that you could consider, if not this year then, next year to help alleviate some pressure to work throughout term-time?

I'd suggest approaching your students union as they will have more information about potential financial aid like bursaries or scholarships that you are eligible for. If not, they may be able to help direct you down other routes that could help your situation as they have specialised knowledge and years of experience in dealing with these kinds of situations.

As a student who also works part-time I do have some advice on finding a balance:

Time Management:
Create a schedule to plan out your week in advance, allocating time for lectures, work, study, and personal activities. Use a planner or digital tools to stay organised.
Prioritise Tasks: Identify the most important tasks for each day and week. This will help you focus on what needs to be done while avoiding burnout.

Study Smart:
Effective Study Techniques: Opt for efficient study methods like active recall, spaced repetition, and breaking your study sessions into manageable chunks. Quality matters more than quantity.
Utilise Breaks: If you have short breaks between classes or work shifts, use that time for quick review or reading.

Work-University Balance:
Limit Work Hours During Exam Periods: During exam periods, consider reducing your work hours to ensure you have enough time to focus on your studies.
Talk to Your Employer: If you're finding it hard to balance work and studies, discuss your situation with your employer. They might be understanding and willing to adjust your shifts. I personally find a lot of my work through the university's own employment service as I know that they are more likely to be understanding of my academic commitments.

Seek Support:
Friends and Family: Share your situation with friends and family. They might offer advice or emotional support.
University Support: If you find yourself struggling academically, consider reaching out to academic advisors or professors for guidance.

Another important thing is to budget for your lifestyle that you want to keep up. Living more frugally does not have to mean that your quality of life suffers. A lot of people use spreadsheets to track their spendings. For me, it works best just to transfer the money I have for that week at the beginning of the week because then I know I can't spend more than that.

Good luck with your second year
-Beth (Lancaster Student Ambassador)
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, so I'm going on to my second year of uni, and I'm staying in accommodation so I'll have to work to pay all of my living costs, as my maintenance loan only covers rent. I would have to work about 20 hours a week to pay for everything else. Obviously, I'm also planning on attending all my lectures, so I'm just wondering how much time I would have outside of that to study (given that I have uni 5 days a week) and just have enough free time to remain sane. People have been telling me that I'll slack and fail uni if I go to work for that long in a week but if I don't work that long I won't be able to afford to attend uni in the first place... Anyone who is or has been in my position, please tell me how it was/is for you and if you've got any tricks to balancing out your life and keeping your studies in check. (Feedback especially helpful if you did computer science but not limited to that ofc)

Hey, how are you? :smile:

It can be a lot to balance a job, social life, uni studies but if you focus on your time management and being organised you could find a good balance that works well for you.

Some ideas you could think about are to create a schedule, use a digital calendar, planner or scheduling app to keep on top of shifts, classes, study sessions and social activities. Make sure you're being realistic in what you can accomplish in a day, we can't always tick everything off on our to-do list, we need to avoid burnout, and prioritize our mental health and wellbeing by taking regular breaks and rest.


Ensured you're prepared to adjust your schedule last minute if something comes up, flexibility is key!

Remember to reach out to loved ones when you need help and lean on them for emotional support.

It's all a learning curve, you'll find the right balance for you, it might just take a little bit of time so be patient with yourself :smile:

Becky
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, so I'm going on to my second year of uni, and I'm staying in accommodation so I'll have to work to pay all of my living costs, as my maintenance loan only covers rent. I would have to work about 20 hours a week to pay for everything else. Obviously, I'm also planning on attending all my lectures, so I'm just wondering how much time I would have outside of that to study (given that I have uni 5 days a week) and just have enough free time to remain sane. People have been telling me that I'll slack and fail uni if I go to work for that long in a week but if I don't work that long I won't be able to afford to attend uni in the first place... Anyone who is or has been in my position, please tell me how it was/is for you and if you've got any tricks to balancing out your life and keeping your studies in check. (Feedback especially helpful if you did computer science but not limited to that ofc)

Hey!
It is definitely possible!
One of my flatmate is also a computer science student (in 2nd year), has a full time remote job, plays county level cricket and in the uni team, and he has a girlfriend too!
So it's definitely doable, you just have to commit to every thing all together. Although i do know he did not used to attend his lectures and go over them in his own time at night but he was up to date, and did well in all of his courseworks too.
Similar to you, He needed to work to pay for his accomodation and expenses to i guess that was his motivation for it.
Hope this helps,
I wish you all the best !

Vyomika (LU Student Ambassador)
Reply 4
Hi guys, I've read all of your responses and they've all been very encouraging and informative. I feel quite alone in my predicament as most of my friends are commuting and so they spend less money, or their parents are really rich (international) so money isn't that big of an issue for them. I think I'll try and balance it out a bit by working 16-12 hours during term time and then going up to 30/40 hours in the holidays (hopefully I can find a job that offers that kind of flexibility). I decided to create an excel spreadsheet and I think I can really do it if I stick to the plan :smile:. Knowing that my livelihood is resting on it, I think, will give me a lot of motivation to get everything done. But I guess it's easier to talk about things than to do it so I guess I'll be back here to report once things are in motion

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