How to manage Engineering, Presidency and Business
As university students, we’ve all been broke at some point in our lives - whether that means simply exhausting your allocated “spending money” for the week or literally having $3.17 worth of life savings in your bank account…
In 2017, I began my degree at UNSW and I’d recently left my casual high-school job as a retail assistant at Kmart. Pursuing a degree that soared beyond my comfort zone, I knew that I’d have to focus this year - but I still needed some sort of income to support my unnecessarily-lavish spending habits.
Growing up in a family full of talents, I was given the talent of dessert-making and I decided to transform this simple hobby into my very own business.
How did you start your business?
By setting up a simple Instagram page, conducting some preliminary research on the market and providing quality customer service, I was able to grow my business. Not only did my business provide a source of income, but it gave me a creative outlet which allowed me to take a break from the hectic engineering student lifestyle.
How did you manage your time?
My typical week consisted of two to three days at uni, two full days working in retail and ten hours dedicated to student-societies, with my weekends spent baking, decorating and delivering desserts to my customers.
To manage my time effectively, I created weekly to-do lists, designated specific time periods for uni work, utilised commute times productively and maintained a good sleep schedule (this one is very important for all you engineers).
With such a busy schedule, how did you fit in university societies?
I have been involved in the UNSW Women in Engineering Society (WIESoc) since 2018. In my earlier years on the team, I was able to maintain my participation in the society whilst carrying out all my other responsibilities. Once I became a part of the executive team, I was required to commit greater time to WIESoc - but I continued to cram in my busy schedule.
Naturally, this lifestyle became challenging and overwhelming over time, so I decided to put my baking business on a temporary hold this year, as I am currently undertaking the role of president for WIESoc, as well as completing my Honours Thesis.
Nonetheless, being a part of WIESoc actually allowed me to take a break from work and create some lifelong memories with my friends! Maintaining your work-life alongside society involvement is definitely achievable, especially if your role does not have extensive time obligations (e.g. members, subcommittee or directors).
Advice for uni students looking for work or wanting to start their own business?
If you are unsure about finding part-time work due to your university commitments, I encourage you to seek opportunities! Having a part-time job will help you manage your time to maximise productivity, all whilst gaining an income that you can allocate towards your bubble-tea addiction or the daily Roundhouse special.
If you are looking to start your own business, here are some tips:
* Find something you are passionate about.
* Conduct research to be aware of market trends, government legislations in the industry and feasibility of the business.
* Do not undervalue your goods/services. Be aware of common market prices and ensure you are not providing excessive input for minimal output.
* Be proactive and plan your weeks to maximise productive time spent on university, work and other commitments.
If you are like me, and you thrive off living a busy lifestyle - I’d highly recommend finding a part-time job or even starting your own side-hustle. Whilst gaining some extra cash is important, it is also essential to take care of your mental health, so get involved with societies such as WIESoc to make some new friends, de-stress from work and make the best of your time at university!