A big stressor for me when applying to medical school was the thought of whether I'd be able to survive financially. This blog post hopes to cover some of the thoughts I've had in my 4 years of being a medical student ...
In this blog post I will be covering:
- Can I keep up a part-time job during my medical studies?
- Income things
- Student jobs
- Expenditure things
- My top tips
Can I keep up a part-time job during my medical studies?
For many students this will not be optional - you'll need to work to survive. For others a part-time job will allow you to live more comfortably. Having some savings will make life a lot less stressful on a rainy day. Most universities will recommend working no more than 10 to 12 hours a week. There's definitely time to complete some form of work in your time at medical school. For some students with caring responsibilities or health complications this can be trickier. I would always advocate for building in time for rest during your week too!
- Student finance - for those completing your first degree you should get a loan for your tuition and maintenance which will be based on your household income.
- University bursaries - most universities will offer some form of bursary for students based on your household income.
- Part-time jobs
- NHS bursary - after 4 years of medical school your tuition fees will be covered by the NHS bursary. During these years you can also get a £1000 bursary plus a bursary based on your household income. You'll also get extra money for extra weeks spent at university as 5th year of a 6 year medical degree is often very long.
- Other income - there are other bursaries available such as hardship funds which you can apply for.
When looking for a student job it needs to be a job that is readily available and that is flexible enough to fit in with the schedule of a medical student.
- If you already have a job/ profession this is often the best option.
- University jobs - jobs offered by your university are a really great way to get involved with the student body and study life.
- Tutoring - this can be done in person and online so is super flexible and you are able to work as few or as many hours as you want to.
- Care work and HCA work - often a really good option for medical students especially if you live near the hospital.
- GP note summariser
- Lifeguard/ pool attendant
- Sports coaching if you have a sport.
- English Language teaching
- Working on medical courses for example as an actor patient.
As well as tackling increasing income another way to organise your finances is to reduce your outgoings where you can.
- Rent - when thinking about reducing expenses it's often good to focus on the big things as this is where you can save the most. It's often worth spending the time in the summer looking for the right house.
- Transport - depending on where you live you might save money by buying or renting a bike. Sometimes you can get a free 4 year railcard by opening a student bank account.
- Don’t buy textbooks - your library will provide the online copies for free.
- Things needed in halls - again, generally worth finding good deals for the most expensive things. Universities often offer a "free sale" where stuff left in halls from previous years can be collected by new students at the beginning of the year.
- Food shop - often worth finding out where the cheapest supermarket is and carpooling to get there. Aiming to make all your meals from scratch is a good way to keep costs down as a student.
- Medical school related - certain things like MedSoc Membership and buying a stethoscope will be things a lot of people do at the start of the course. For stethoscopes you can usually get a discount during the freshers week at your university.
- Academic extracurricular - there may be some costs such as for conferences. However, there should be lots of free events at your medical school and online too!
- Social + hobbies - lots of things should be subsidised for students and to save money it's worth having some hobbies that are free/ cheap such as running or walking.
My top tips:
- Make sure to apply early for student finance and all the bursaries you are eligible for.
- Do aim to prioritise university work over any part-time work and never compromise on sleep and food to work.
- Try to be smart about your job and pick something you enjoy and in flexible and convenient for you.
- Don't be disheartened if you can't find a job straight a way - work can be difficult to come by!
- When saving money try and focus on the big purchases - that's where you can save the most money.
- Don't feel too guilty about spending money towards something that you think is important and aligns with your values.
- If you come into money trouble as a student you are not alone and the student finance system means that a lot of students are struggling at the moment. Do let your medical school know and apply for the bursaries.