During the second week of my first year in university, I scoured all of Kelowna for a part-time job. I would’ve begun my hunt during my first week, if not for the needed settling-in process that included unpacking, making friends, and attending my first lectures.

Finding a job during university is one of the many priorities for students, considering the need to make up for living and tuition expenses, or simply add more relevant experience to our resumes. 

As a second year student that maxes twenty hours a week at my two jobs — one being writing for this very newspaper and the other being retail work — I’ve learned that maintaining a balanced schedule, prioritizing self-care, and finding the right job(s) are paramount factors in alleviating stress.

Student responses from our Instagram story’s call for experiences express similar sentiments. Many people also mentioned how work, though tiring, provides opportunities to make friends and engage with the community here in Kelowna. 

Hopefully, you can keep these stories and tips in mind if you’re looking for jobs during the summer term or break!

Pro-tip #1: Go after jobs you like!

If you’re like me, and only put in the bare minimum for tasks you don’t care about, then maybe stick to jobs that you are passionate about. If coffee sustains your every molecule, then become a barista! If you can eat an infinite amount of a certain cuisine, try finding a job as a server at a corresponding restaurant.

This isn’t a requirement, obviously; you don’t need to quit your job at an office just because you dislike paperwork. But, I’ve found that at my retail job, it’s extremely satisfying helping someone leave the store with a purchase that makes them feel confident and look amazing! Loving what you do makes your shifts fly by, and allows you to feel proud of the differences you’re making in the world, even if it’s in the smallest degree.

Pro-tip #2: Find a work environment that suits you!

Finding a suitable workplace means you shouldn’t be in a toxic or unhealthy environment. Management needs to respect you. Your coworkers need to respect you. You don’t need to be best friends with the people you work with, but they shouldn’t be putting you under emotional duress. The workplace is not supposed to be a psychological warzone with gossip, sabotage, and bullying (yeah, people still do that at our big age!) as part of the enemy arsenal!

Decide what kind of mindset you want to be in at your workplace. Are you there to solely work? Or do you want to find a community within the workspace? Socialization with the people around us takes a lot of mental energy. So, when we have other tasks to deal with — like early morning lectures or waiting tables on a weekend night to earn an education or money — getting to know the new hire doesn’t need to be on the top of your list. But, if you do want to make friends or even network with your coworkers, you could make use of this opportunity to establish connections that last a lifetime.

Pro-tip #3: GET YOUR SLEEP!

The worst feeling is feeling groggy after staying up until 3 a.m., then having to get to work for an 8 a.m. shift. If you get your needed 8.5 hours of sleep, the knowledge that you’re taking care of your body, and giving it the rest it needs to function, goes a long way. 

Keep to a tight schedule. Student responses to our Instagram story showed that “time management” and “making time for rest / recovery / self care” is paramount, especially when many of their experiences were “exhausting,” “stressful,” and put them in a place where they were “stretched too thin.”

If you’re able to include relaxation and rest in your schedule, there’s less of a chance you’ll feel overwhelmed during the week, since you’re getting breaks from constant school and work. I’ve found that sleeping at 11 p.m. and waking up naturally at 8 a.m. is genuinely one of the best decisions any university student can make (if… classes allow you to do so).

Pro-tip #4: Advocate for yourself!

It’s important to remember that you’re human, and that we work for our own reasons. Advocate for your needs. Whether that means asking for time off because you need a mental health break, or stepping up to ask for more training at your job so you can gain more experience — make sure your job isn’t a waste of time. We can only afford so much as students, in giving our time and energy to the world, when we participate in society by working.

Beginning the (Job) Hunt

For many of us students, jobs are already on our plate or in the near future. Oftentimes, university is a stepping stone that launches us into full-time careers, so now is typically the time when we learn how to adapt to working. In a world that lauds constant productivity, remember that as a human being, you deserve rest and to enjoy what you do. You’re what makes the job important; the job doesn’t make you important!