Having a part-time job at medical school

​Medicine can be an extremely busy course. You may have heard people say that having a job at medical school just isn’t possible – it’s too hard, there’s no time, you just can’t do it.

I’ve written this blog post to share my own experience of having a job at medical school to show you that this isn’t true! It’s important to not be put off attending medical school by the prospect of not being able to work, especially if you are worried about money. However, having a job while at medical school won’t be easy to manage with all of the workload, so I’ve written about all of my top tips and tricks to having a job whilst at medical school. 

“Will my University let me have a job?”

Most universities have no problem with students having a job while you’re studying, but at Oxford or Cambridge, there may be limitations on the amount that you are permitted to work. If you’re unsure of your university’s policy, make sure to double check with them.

Most universities recommend that if you are undertaking a part-time job alongside your studies that you limit the amount you work so that you’re not overworking yourself or at risk of burnout. If you do feel as though you’ve taken on too much work, speak to the welfare services at your medical school, because they will be able to help you put a plan in place.

“What’s the best part time job to get?”

There are lots of different options for part-time jobs, it’s just about finding the one that works best for you and your schedule. You may want to work on a zero hour or fixed hour contract in a supermarket, restaurant, retail store or bar. This is beneficial if you want a fixed income and to know how much you’re working each week.

Another option that many students go for whilst at medical school is tutoring, and you can do this in a number of ways. You may want to set up your own tutoring business and advertise on your social media to connect with parents around where you are living. You can also tutor online through different tutoring sites. However, while you may make more per hour tutoring than in a typical retail or hospitality job, it’s important to remember that you likely won’t have much work over the summer and the amount of lessons you do may change from week to week, affecting your income. It might not be as reliable as a weekly, contracted set of hours, so choose whatever you feel works best for you. 

You can also always look on your university’s jobs page – they may offer temporary jobs for students. These opportunities are great as you may be able to work on projects at the university and enhance your CV all whilst getting paid for it. Another benefit is that the university or employers recruiting via the university may be more flexible with your hours due to your university commitments. 

“Great! I’ve got a job, but how do I balance it alongside my studies?”

If you can find a flexible job you might find it easier to balance your studies and work, but if you are on a fixed hour contract, then you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be working to plan around that.

My main advice would be to start small and work your way up to more hours as you get more comfortable. It’s also important to manage your time well (see our dedicated blog post to this on our website). You can do this by having a diary or online calendar where you plan all of your commitments and can see them at a glance. Make sure that you are leaving ample time for your university commitments and that you aren’t overworking yourself. It’s important to take time to rest. 

Always remember that you can cut back! Your mental health and your studies should be the priority. If you find that you’re doing too many hours or that your work lifestyle is not sustainable, there is nothing wrong with reaching out for help or support. Welfare services at your university can help with this, alongside your friends and personal tutor.

written by Aisia Lea

Aisia is a medical student at the University of Nottingham interested in increasing diversity in medical resources and widening participation to medicine. You can follow her on Instagram @aisialeamedic.

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