FLEXing My Work-Uni Balance

Picture of By Asiah Capponi

By Asiah Capponi

When you are a full-time student it can be hard to maintain a good and healthy balance between your studies and your personal life. They match and mix easily and you risk spending too much time on the books and being stressed all the time or spending too much time out partying and sleeping in class. Having a good university-life balance is not something to take for granted. But what if you add a part-time job to the equation? The results: your head is quite crowded. 

Assuming that most students are no Rockefeller, living abroad can be very expensive. Many international students who move to Amsterdam not only have to adapt to a whole new culture, explore a new city and try not to get nostalgic of their home country too often, they also need to find a job. Something that might sound easy on paper, as the Netherlands is the destination of a large number of expat in search of employment, and job opportunities seem endless. However, it gets a bit more complicated when your job needs to give you the option of flexibility, so that you work around your university schedule. Some give up because the search for a suitable job takes more time than an actual job would. Some, like me and many others, are lucky enough to find something fitting.

A Student-Safe Space

In the past month, I have been working for an employment agency called Studentflex, where students are the main focus of the company. Our goal at Studentflex is to help highly motivated students, Dutch and international, find a job that is challenging and can help them gain useful skills. It doesn’t matter if they’re a bachelor student, just started their Master’s or just graduated and have no clue what to do with their life. Studentflex tries to help everyone. 

I felt welcome from the very first moment and I got the chance to work in a team that cares about each others’ success

I have had previous jobs back in Italy, but the environment I found at Studentflex was completely new to me. I felt welcome from the very first moment and I got the chance to work in a team that cares about each others’ success. Having the opportunity to work in a healthy environment is not something that should be taken for granted, it’s the ideal situation and it would be amazing if it was real everywhere, but sadly it is not as easy to find as we might think. Although, knowing that such idyllic workplaces exist, has motivated me to not settle for something that is not healthy for me. We should all aspire to create a good work environment around us, and I am happy I got to experience what it means at Studentflex. 

My Job: Helping Students

Job hunting is not easy, I started by looking on LinkedIn and Glassdoor, hoping to find a part-time job that matched my interests and needs. That’s when I heard about Studentflex. I applied and I ended up accepting an offer from the company itself. At first, I turned to them because, like many other students, I needed some income to be able to survive in Amsterdam. In the past month, however, my position in Studentflex has become more than work. A large number of students have to find a job because not all families have the possibility to fully support them while they are abroad. This can affect the time they have for university, maybe even cutting their studying time by half. I am proud to say that the job I ended up doing is literally being the bridge between students and a company that can help them find their ideal job. I feel like I am doing something that matters: giving a hand to my fellow university buddies, helping them get a step closer to something that is a basic need for them. 

Work It!

Many students finish university without having worked a single day of their life, and in today’s world, that can put them at a disadvantage. Nowadays, if you want the job of your dreams, you might need at least one hundred degrees, maybe a couple of Master’s and a PhD, if you are lucky. Having a side job can distinguish you from the competition.

Firstly, it’s a good reference for the future, since it shows you can juggle more things at once, while staying on track and being organized. 

Secondly, it will look good on your curriculum, give you some insight into the work market, and some valuable experience. Having a job and studying full-time might be stressful at times but it’s worth it. After all, who would hire someone with no experience? 

The Glass Wall

One of the main goals of university should be networking: getting to know interesting people with a wide range of backgrounds. Young students who are full of hopes and dreams for the future. Young students who are ready to be the hard workers and the CEOs of a company tomorrow. Knowledge sometimes is simply not enough, and a bit of practice in the real world is a necessity. A work-study-life balance is important, barriers need to be set high, but they also need to be clear, made of glass, so that we can still see through them. Of course, keeping boundaries is crucial for our mental health, but being able to have a clear general picture and have the ability to take what you have learned at work and apply it to your university life is as important. When we need to juggle multiple experiences at once the main idea is to take the opportunity and make the best out of it. Now is the time to learn, but learning in between different walls will push you a step further than anyone else. 

Cover: Kindel Media

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