Rachel Appiah is a Final Year Business Management and English Language student. Alongside her studies, Rachel has been working part-time as a Reception Assistant for The Hub Student Support Services at Aston University. She was also recently highly commended for the Commercial Impact category in the Student Employee of the Year Awards 2019. We caught up with her to find out more about her job, the benefits of working part-time and how her experience will help her career.
What does a typical day in your part-time job look like?
- Responding to face-to-face, telephone and email enquiries from applicants, students and staff.
- Producing confirmation of student enrolment letters, bank letters and verification of award letters.
- Booking appointments for the student and academic services.
- Being a first point of contact for students and staff who are accessing services provided by student and academic services
What has been the highlight of your job so far?
The highlight of my job has to be helping students and working among a great team who work hard to support students and ensure that they have a pleasant university experience.
What skills have you developed?
I have developed the ability to work well under pressure and adapt to a demanding environment, especially during Freshers’ week where The Hub team experienced a high volume of requests from students. This job taught me how me to manage varying tasks with confidence and I was thoroughly supported by my manager who ensured that I was adequately trained to be left on the reception desk alone.
Why did you decide to get a part-time job?
I decided to apply for this part-time job because I thought it would be a great opportunity to gain valuable experience in customer service and also positively impact my university. Furthermore, I wanted a role that was flexible with my studies and this job was perfect for me as it worked around my lectures.
How do you juggle working and studying?
Balancing both studying and working is not an easy task, but it isn’t impossible – it just requires a high level of organisational skills. It is always advisable to create a study plan and stick to the tasks you set yourself. What helped me was: planning my day in advance, prioritising and completing tasks that needed to be done before or after I went to work. This is also why choosing a flexible job is important because as a student, overworking yourself can have a harmful effect on your mental health.
How have the skills and experience you’ve gained from your part-time job helped you in other areas of your life?
I believe that this part-time role has provided me with valuable skills that will enable me to become an asset to the workforce. It has prepared me for my graduate role which will also require me to balance various tasks, process financial data and adapt to a dynamic workforce. Furthermore, working at The Hub has allowed me to put into practice effective leadership and communication skills, something which has really been emphasised on my course, as the role involved being empathetic to the different needs of students and building a rapport with others.
What advice would you give to other students thinking about or looking for a part-time job?
My advice for any student who wants to study while working is to prioritise your time well. There is nothing that cannot be done as long as there is effective planning in place. I would encourage you to maintain a high level of discipline and focus throughout and be willing to step out of your comfort zone to gain new experiences. That is what will help you enjoy your university experience and set yourself apart. Don’t give up on your search as well, the process is not always easy but it is worth it!
How does it feel to have been nominated for a Student Employee of the Year Award – and to be highly commended for your category? How do you feel this will help you in the future?
I must say it was an honour to be recognised and nominated by my manager. I am grateful to have been highly commended, something I never expected. This is a great achievement and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the Student Support Services and to represent my institution. This award will always remind me of my time at Aston University and is a reminder that hard work always pays off. I know this award will set me apart from other students and will be admired by future employers.
Has Rachel’s story inspired you to find your own paid part-time job? Well, lucky for you, we’ve got our own JobShop team who are just itching to help you get one! You can find them next door to the Careers+Placements Centre (1st Floor, South Wing) or drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org