One of the questions I always get asked is: “Should I have a casual job during the HSC?”
Here’s a quick story:
When I turned 15, my Dad sat me down and said “Son, from now on you’re old enough to get a job. So, anything that you want to buy, you have to buy for yourself.”
I wasn’t a huge fan of this conversation, but I quickly got myself a job as an indoor soccer referee. After that job I worked at my local chicken shop.
During the HSC, I maintained this job, working Thursday nights and Sundays, and was also working on making a career as a professional soccer player.
Oh, and I was also studying for my HSC and trying to get the 99.60 ATAR goal I set myself for Law at Sydney Uni.
By the end of Year 12, I could manage a casual job, soccer and getting a 99.60 ATAR.
My point here is that you actually CAN maintain a casual job during the HSC. It is actually possible.
In fact, getting and maintaining a casual job is really important!
In this article we’re going to share 4 reasons why and 3 strategies you can use to juggle your commitments, do well at school and maintain your casual job!
Reasons Why You Should Have a Casual Job During the HSC
Reason #1: Outlet from the HSC
Having a casual job during the HSC is going to be an outlet for you to chill out and turn your brain off for a little bit.
It will give you perspective so that you’re not in the ‘HSC bubble’ all the time and you get some time off!
Reason #2: Beneficial for University Applications
When it comes to applying for competitive university scholarships and early entry programs, having a casual job is going to be beneficial for you!
All these applications will be looking for work experience, and they will ask about lessons you’ve learnt and experiences you’ve had in those jobs.
So, if you haven’t got a casual job or haven’t had one for a while, it’s going to be difficult for you to answer these questions.
Reason #3: Workforce Experience and Employability
Right now 1 in 3 university graduates cannot find a full-time job when they graduate from university.
These guys have done everything right, got the ATAR, gone to uni, got the degree and now can’t find a job.
This really shows that the formula of getting a good ATAR, getting a degree and getting a good job is broken. It’s no longer working like this in the real world.
And what employers are looking for is experience, projects you’ve worked on, and an indication that you’re the right person for the job (not just qualified to do it).
Yes, academic performance is important, but really you need to be getting real world work experience and getting a casual job during the HSC is going to be your first step on this journey.
Reason #4: Independence!
By having a casual job you’re getting some independence, you’ll have some money to spend!
You can buy things you like and go out and do things you want to do using your own money.
This is an awesome and powerful reason to get a casual job and maintain it during the HSC!
So, how do you actually maintain your casual job during the HSC?
Strategy #1: Get a Job Close to Home
This is pretty straightforward.
Get a job that’s close to home so you don’t have to spend a bunch of time travelling just to start work and to come home.
First of all this gets tiring pretty quickly, and secondly, you’re going to have much less time to work with when trying to fit other commitments and study in if you have to travel a lot for work.
Strategy #2: Flexible Working Hours
You’re going to want to find an employer that can be flexible with working hours.
I couldn’t always work on a Thursday or a Sunday and my employers were really fantastic in allowing me to be flexible in the times I worked.
So, make sure you’re having that conversation with your employer if you’re moving into Year 12 and keeping your job, or if you’re in Year 12 and getting a job for the first time.
Strategy #3: Have Some Fun!
This is really important!
In addition to learning some great skills, getting experience and earning your own money, you should use your job as an opportunity to have fun and meet friends!
You really should evaluate whether you enjoy the job you’re doing during the HSC, because it’s not going to be fun going to a job you hate on top of the already stressful HSC.
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Isabella Hanley loves science. She loves science so much she’s making it her career. While completing her Bachelor of Medical Science she is also a Coach and Digital Content Manager at Art of Smart. She is super passionate about sharing her knowledge on surviving the HSC since completing the HSC herself in 2014. In her downtime she enjoys Netflix binging like a pro, singing in the shower and hanging out with her awesome rescue dog, Ruby.