Life is becoming slightly more difficult for New Brunswick’s university students. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and an ever-increasing number of lockdowns, steady jobs are growing scarce. Some students are laid off, some have been fired, and some are now working from home. 

The highly infectious Omicron variant has put a temporary strain on the lives of students as they fight to make ends meet and keep up with schoolwork. 

Unemployment insurance is increasingly difficult to obtain. It takes anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to get a hold of an agent, leaving students feeling even more defeated and stressed about how they will be able to afford life on top of school. Students wonder how they will make it to campus or afford necessities like food or gas.

With little time for students to consider their education, they find themselves struggling to balance school life and work life. 

The University of New Brunswick is offering an ample amount of opportunities for students to make a few dollars. Whether it be supportive staff positions or working as a TA, UNB strives to facilitate student employment. 

In 1998, the University of New Brunswick signed a certificate of commitment under the federal contractors program to ensure employment equity at the university. This means those who identify as women, Indigenous, disabled, or as members of visible minorities are afforded equal opportunities. 

UNB also holds job postings online via their website, allowing students to sort through and apply for jobs that they find interesting. Listed positions include research associates for cyber security, teaching assistants in the biology department, and others.

Self discipline is important, and students should discern between working and learning to live around work. It is easy to work harder to enjoy life while keeping work fun and manageable. The ability to work in an educational controlled environment such as on campus allows students to develop their professional portfolio while staying in a local, comfortable place. 

Learning to manage money as a student is another important skill in order to achieve financial stability. Enabling students to work and manage their money well in school teaches students lifelong money management and time management skills. Once learning the true value of the dollar, students begin to understand the true importance of time.

Working while studying also teaches students important social skills such as teamwork, people skills, management, and problem solving. Working helps students map out where they’d like to be in the future, because they are able to understand the areas where they excel. It also helps students practise job skills that may need improving. 

However, students must be weary. Struggling to balance time between coursework and a job can potentially negatively impact a student’s GPA. Trying to have it all – money, social life, success – is a difficult balance. But with proper management and mentorship it is possible to build a great foundation for one’s future. 

Working while studying can be difficult, especially with COVID-19, which is why UNB aims to provide opportunities for students to advance financially in an academic environment.