Career, Work

All About the Work Study Program

Aesthetic shot of a type writer with notebooks scattered around it

I wish my work space looked like this. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

As a work-study Career Centre blogger, I think it’s about time I blog about U of T’s Work Study program.

U of T’s Work Study is available to U of T students registered in at least 2.0 courses from September to April of the school year. You cannot work more than 12 hours per week, and are paid at least minimum wage per hour. Usually, these jobs are relevant to your studies, interests, or anticipated careers.

Intrigued? Read on to hear how I found my work study position, how I make time for work with a full course load, and the lessons I learned from my current blogging job.

How I got started

Work-study positions can be found on the Career Learning Network (CLN). The Career Centre, of course, also has all sorts of resources to help with the job-hunting process.

I started looking for work-study jobs as early as August on the CLN, and consulted the Career Centre’s website for tips on resumes, cover letters, and interviews. When searching for jobs on the CLN, I made sure to narrow down my search results so that I only saw jobs that correlated with my skills and interests, which was much easier than combing through the seemingly endless list of available positions.

But before I applied for any work-study positions, I debated if it would be wiser to focus solely on school and co-curriculars instead of throwing a job into the mix. It was a difficult decision to make, but I eventually realized that I wanted to challenge myself and focus more on my career this year.

How I balance work and study

I’ll be honest, it can be pretty overwhelming to juggle a full course load, a handful of co-curricular activities, a weekly blog, and a social life.

A tactic I use to help organize myself and increase my productivity is prioritization.

If I’m mapping out my week, I’ll make sure that I finish my work-related activities first. Usually, writing my blogs is more time-sensitive than my school assignments, since I have to finish writing each blog within a week. I always make sure to start my school assignments early (or at least outline them earlier on) so that work and school don’t have to compete for my time every new week.

What I’ve learned from my work-study position

Skills-wise, I’ve strengthened my time management skills, my communication skills, and my ability to write under pressure. I had never professionally blogged prior to working with Life at U of T, nor had I blogged on such a strict and regular basis. More implicitly, as an employee of U of T, I’ve also learned professionalism and how larger workplaces—like the Career Centre—operate.

My work-study position also encourages me to get out of my comfort zone; it encourages me to attend workshops, networking events, and the like—which can be pretty intimidating. I attended (and blogged about) two work-study workshops, Navigating the Workplace and an event planning workshop. The Work Study program offers other workshops for work-study and non-work-study students, which aim to teach them new skills that are not only relevant to their current positions, but future ones as well.

Although some aspects of the job are challenging or intimidating, I also get to write every week—which is not only something I love to do, but a relevant skill for my anticipated job field. Work-study jobs aren’t perfect; there are some aspects you will dislike, and some you will love, which is all part of the career exploration process—and life. Plus, the challenging aspects of my work-study position haven’t discouraged me from exploring future jobs with similar requirements; instead, it’s actually built my confidence in dealing with events that are out of my comfort zone.

I’m looking forward to continuing my work-study journey, and seeing where it takes me.