Why Working While Schooling Isn’t A Bad Thing

EDITORIAL

Hello, everyone! I am back at styleXstyle as a part-time marketing assistant for the next two to three weeks. The styleXBootcamp was a great experience for me, and I've missed working with the styleXstyle team — so I naturally jumped at the opportunity to return. How often do we get chances like this, to work on things we enjoy doing and with people we love? I’ve not given up my dream of being a host, if you were wondering. To me, it’s simply a detour to my ultimate goal. 

A lot of people have questioned my decision to work while schooling (HAHA), so I thought it would be best to explain why I decided to take up this job. Initially, my parents weren't so keen on me taking up the job, even though it was only for three weeks. I shared the same concerns, as I knew that this semester was an important one for me. 

More importantly, however, I also knew that opportunities like these don't come by easy. I may only be 20, but I've witnessed far too many instances where people decide to pass on good opportunities — only to regret it after. So, here is Weishi's life tip #1: When an opportunity comes your way, GRAB it and give it your best.

To give you a little context: I am a full-time undergraduate at National University of Singapore; I am running Three-ft (a non-profit secondhand clothing biz) with some friends; I have a part-time job at a Bingsu dessert parlour; and I am with styleXstyle. This means I shuffle between the office, school and post office quite a bit. This also means I sometimes miss lectures, which I know isn't the best thing to do, but I make it a point to catch up with school during the weekends. 

Within just one week of working at styleXstyle, I’ve learnt so much about life and myself, and I’ve come to realise that committing myself to so many activities means that I would have to sacrifice other things — no more singing in the shower, no more sleeping past 8am, and no more social life (somewhat exaggerating, but not far off from the truth). Despite these factors, however, I don't regret taking up my stint with styleXstyle. 

Here are four reasons why I think this work-study situation isn't necessarily a bad thing:

#1 You learn a lot on the job

I am not discounting the lessons we learn in school. Work, however, teaches you lessons that you may never find in classrooms. The learning curve for this job is steep. Before I joined, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign were unfamiliar territories. Also, I never knew how to create an electronic newsletter with the Emarsys system, or that it takes so much effort to create a print ad. I had to learn how to use these softwares/programmes within five days on the job. (I also learnt that you should always save your work on Microsoft Word if you are typing on a system without an autosave function.)

#2 You learn to manage your time

Emails come in all the time. I now understand why working adults can never stop responding to emails. Replying emails is but a very small part of the job. Since we only have eight hours a day to finish our work, the ability to prioritise them according to urgency and importance is incredibly important. It’s easier said than done.

To be completely honest, I am terrible at prioritising and managing my time — I was supposed to finish writing this article on a Friday, but I ended up completing it on Saturday. (I'm sorry, Dawn!) My poor excuse for the late submission: I was rushing an essay for school (due the same day), so I couldn't finish writing this one. But it ultimately boils down to time management. 

Remember how we’d tell ourselves to start on a task early, only to complete them at the eleventh hour? I still do that, but I’m working on it. Being at the workplace really forces you to manage your time better, because you’re accountable to your boss. In comparison, you’re only responsible for yourself and your grades at school.

#3 You meet all sorts of people

If you think you've met the worst in university (read: students who don't contribute in a project but end up with an 'A' grade), think again. At the workplace, you meet all kinds of people. The nice ones. The bitchy ones. The ones who get you to do their work for them. Office politics are very real, but you learn to manage these interactions in a professional manner.

Dealing with difficult people is inevitable in the real world, but I love that working at styleXstyle has expedited the experience for me! Case in point: Last Friday evening, I was getting some work done at VIBES Cafe when I struck up a conversation with the cafe’s co-founder, Ming. Who knew we were actually from the same junior college and faculty in university? Trivia: Ming was part of the first batch of undergraduates from NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and I thought it was so interesting that you were automatically expelled back then if you didn't maintain a certain grade in the academic year. They must have been really stressed out. 

It's interactions like this that make me realise just how much I enjoy meeting people. And I'm so thankful to have the chance to work alongside such amazing and talented individuals. So much love! <3

#4 You grow as an individual

I think understanding yourself as a person is very underrated — you can only improve as a person if you know what is not good for you. I've always known myself to be a perfectionist (which may account for my bad time management: I pride quality over punctuality), but being at styleXstyle made me realise that I am a workaholic, which is not necessarily a good thing. I cannot give myself a break if I’m not done with something. I'm still deciding if I want to change this HAHA. But the point is, you understand yourself better.

Plus, there is beauty in interning at a company before graduating — you understand what you like and don't like about a job, so when you graduate you know what works for you. I love being able to move around a bit while working, although I can tolerate 9-5 desk jobs. (I used to think 9-5 desk jobs were boring, but time actually passes really quickly when you’re busy)

I hope this feature wasn't too boring — I just wanted to present an honest account of my experience. I was questioned (and judged) for wanting to work an office job during the school term, but I've learnt so much within days. Plus, I even get to put into practice what I've learnt. If you have been contemplating about taking up a part-time job while schooling, I urge you to go ahead as long as you set your priorities right, and know what’s in it for you.

Right now, I’m just super excited for what’s in store the next couple of weeks! Do stay tuned.

xoxo, Weishi.

@gweishi \ gweishi.wordpress.com

 


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