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Dear Captain Awkward,

I moved to the UK for uni a year ago with plans to get a job at the same time, since that was what I’d always done before. At first I decided to wait until second semester in order to settle in, since I had student loans and a scholarship to lower tuition a little. I ended up dealing with mental health problems and focusing on those instead. (Look! You don’t have to recommend therapy!)

Now that I have things more under control, I’ve sort of started looking again, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to put real energy into it. There has been one job of the few I’ve applied to that I’ve been interested in, and I didn’t hear back. I know I don’t actually want the type of job I expect to get as a student, and that if I’m super-cheap I can survive on my loans, but at the same time I feel a lot of pressure to get a job. The two big reasons are 1) I am very aware of how much I have out in student loans overall, and 2) I really want to stay in the UK (this city is the first place where I’ve both felt like my own person and felt like I can be somewhat sociable and meet people which has resulted in actual friends) after I graduate and the recent awful changes to visas have made me feel like I need to be amazing while I’m here in order to even have a chance to stay.

I’m really not sure what to do since I can’t shake this feeling that I should have a job because that’s the grown-up thing to do and I will end up miserable in my home country if I don’t make employers love me now.

All the best,
Anya

Dear Anya:

I think it would be good to have a job. Look for something part-time in retail, tutoring, or light office work and don’t worry about it lining up with your passions.

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