Labour Party: How to Fund the Booze

It's all very well us recommending all these opportunities for debauchery if you don't have the cash to enable it. Below, we speak to some students with very different experiences of part-time work: good news, you don't always have to dress up as an elf

Feature by Helen McCarthy | 09 Sep 2013
  • Student Jobs

Bracken works at a kennels and cattery.

What's a typical day like in kennels?
It's a half nine start. Then I clean three blocks of kennels, give the dogs their breakfast, and clean and feed the cats. I sterilise any empty kennels, feed the dogs and cats again, hose down the outside pens. And before I lock up I check all the animals are happy and have enough water, and then I leave around half five.

So you get to spend all day with dogs and cats? Sounds amazing.
Yeah. Mostly I love the attention and all the different personalities are hilarious. Downsides are spending the day surrounded by poo. And when people cry when they leave their pets. It's sad. But it's insane taking them back to their owner when they pick them up, they get so excited. 

Alex taught English at a summer school in Romania.

What made you want to go to Romania, Alex?
I'm a social geography student, so I'd been looking to do some type of aid work abroad for a while, but no organisations had felt quite right until I found this particular one.

So what was a typical day like?
In the mornings we taught three hours of English classes, completely independently, which was daunting at first. All the children had great imaginations, they loved creative activities like making comic strips. In the afternoon, we had a four hour break due to the heat, then we organised treasure hunts, art, drama, and swimming sessions. In the evening, there were discos, karaokes, and talent shows for the children. They stayed at the summer school from Monday to Sunday, then our next group arrived, so we were kept really busy.

What was the most rewarding thing about it?
The improvement in their language skills by the end of just one week with native English speakers was so drastic. It was also great receiving thank you cards they'd made for me – it really made me feel like I'd made a difference.

Arran worked as a glass collector in a large nightclub.

So what did your job involve?
I worked as floor staff in a nightclub in my third year. I thought it would be a good idea as I’d have all day to go to uni and work on my dissertation and then be able to work nights.

Did it work out like that?
I’d get home at 5-6am, and physically couldn't get up until at least midday the next day, which has an effect on all subsequent nights. It was generally exhausting.

What was the absolute worst thing about it?
It wasn't uncommon to find glasses full of vomit or piss.

Josh worked as a street salesperson.

So what does a street salesperson do, Josh?
It was field sales, so the people who bother you in the street. We were selling whatever they told us to sell – monthly subscription stuff, teeth-whitening kits, even charity. We got more money for signing up old people – I imagine because they're more likely to forget about their direct debits, and to give in to the hassle of somebody phoning them up asking them to increase their donation. Really sinister.

Very sinister.
It was cult-like; like a huge brainwashing ritual. They had us all shouting positive slogans at each other while they showed us "positive thinking" videos. There were high-fives all around.

Wow. What were your hours like?
This is a job that takes over your life. I found myself working 6am-5pm most days, including Saturdays. This was during the summer at first and the plan was to be able to sustain it during term time, but I knew it just wasn't going to be possible. 

Did the pay make it worth it?
Entirely commission, but we were promised we'd be "managers within the year", which was a good prospect but seemed unlikely. Our manager claimed to be a millionaire, though I never saw him driving a car and all his shirts were from Primark.