3 things I have learned from working as a student

Ever since I started university in North America, I wanted to work alongside studying. I had done a long internship at The Express Tribune throughout high school so I knew that was something I can manage.

When I finally got to work upon moving to Vancouver, I left no position (which I qualified for) unapplied. #applyforeverything. It was all about getting out of my comfort zone, taking the risks and, eventually reaping the rewards. Be it the monetary compensation or growth that comes out of working, I recommend all my friends, acquaintances and mentees to try out working part time in school. In today’s world it is hard to get by successfully just with a degree unless the program is a specific professional one.

So, here are a few things I have realized in these 2 – 2.5 years of working tirelessly:

1. Bad work habits stick

Not to start on a sour note but this one was the first thing that popped into my head. I have tackled a few positions now to notice a pattern of habits related to my work day. And one thing is for sure that any negative habits stick.

That casual half-day because you’re tired, or going in late because you have an errand to run. These seem like one-off occurrences until they become a habit hard to loose. Make sure you don’t catch the bad one’s which are hard to give up and are able to maintain a positive work ethic.

2. You have more time than you think

Productivity is a running issue in many areas of life for me. Sometime’s I’m the energizer bunny and at other times I’m the tortoise. However, my current 8:30 – 4:30pm job has revealed some interesting things about my working pattern.

8 hours is a lot of time but it can either go by really fast or become murderous. This often depends on how we plan parts of the day that are in our control. I can’t control how many meetings I have in my day because I work in a large team, but I make sure to block off time for focused work in those white chunks on the calendar that can easily become mindless browsing and endless coffees.

This is not to say that every minute and hour of your day should be work – even taking a wellness walk or a quick chat with a colleague is being productive!

ballpen blur close up computer

3.  Always welcome feedback

It is hard for people to believe I take feedback quite positively and openly in my professional life. Ask my mom, and she will completely deny this! But there is something about hearing from the recipients of your work results how you fared that will show you a whole new dimension of your work. As a student worker, I am often the one with the least experience yet, a lot of perspective. Hence, it works out well that I offer my perspective but am always open to learning about how to do those hard tasks or be diligent about my work.

This is more true for me because I work in communications and writing is never perfect. I like to think of it as a practical writing course – where I’m being paid instead of paying. Working collaboratively and receiving feedback from your peers and colleagues only adds to the work especially if you keep in mind the organization’s goal because everything adds to that!

This is pretty much it for now but I am sure as I work more and on different things, I will have more key takeaways. Till then, enjoy this and make sure to send that feedback my way.