Now that they’ve completed their examinations, O’ Level students have up to five months before they have to enrol in their tertiary institutions. This break allows them to go out to travel, spend quality time with family and friends or even picking up a new hobby.
Rest and relaxation aside, working during this period can be immensely useful. Students can also gain valuable life skills, acquire eye-opening experiences, and build useful networks – all while making some additional pocket money!
We interviewed five students who shared their experiences of working at their first post-O’ Level job and what they gained from it.
# 1 Food & Beverage Staff
Being an F&B part-timer is the go-to job for students especially since they are quite welcoming of post O’ Level students. Most decided to venture into this industry due to peer influence or simply to earn extra income for their expenses.
However, working as an F&B crew is more than just serving food and drinks. Invaluable experiences alongside useful skill sets can be attained if you are able to familiarise yourself with the job.
We spoke to a student working at 18 chefs who shared with us how she was able to converse with various customers and capable of handling tricky situations while working for them. She learned to be calm and never lose patience towards a customer.
Along with treasured experiences, challenges faced will be inevitable. Especially for the F&B industry, during peak hours would be the busiest time of the day. She mentioned,
“Customers will flood in and we might occasionally be lagging behind. Besides that, I think working at 18 chefs has been quite smooth thus far”
Despite the obstacles encountered, she expresses her joy in working for them as “there is a good working environment” and “there are provided meals, a plus factor haha!”
# 2 Retail Associate
Students would do anything to be in trend and improve their sense of fashion thus getting a job in the retail industry might just be the best option. However, many students failed to realize that working in this industry is never easy. A student working at Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) shares with us:
“It’s a fast pace kind of job which requires a lot of energy to provide quality service for the shoppers” and “it’s tough to communicate with customers from different races as their first language for speech is not English”
It’s has always been a challenge to communicate with customers that is not an avid English speaker thus creating a language barrier between both parties. However, through this eye-opening experience, improving your skills and capabilities to be a better worker in the future would not be an issue.
Instead of working at a retail store only for the sake of “window-shopping”, “eye-in” on clothes or simply just to get fast cash, students should relook into the skills sets obtainable that will benefit them in the future.
# 3 Primary School Tutor
These are especially for those that have always wanted to be a teacher. You may not have sufficient skills yet to be a qualified teacher however, you may tutor younger students that wish to have a tutor.
The pay, however, may not be of satisfactory but it is definitely a great platform for you to grow and learn critical communication skills to prep yourselves for your tertiary educational route.
Aside from worrying about the pay that you’ll be receiving, having a passion for teaching is one of the most vital aspects to consider before you venture out to be a tutor.
We spoke to a student working as a tutor who shared with us the challenges she faced whilst tutoring. One of which would be the challenge to find the best teaching method for her students and knowing if they really understood what she was trying to teach.
Of course, being a respectable tutor would be a challenge as it requires skills and experience but if you have the passion for teaching, going through a patchy start would not be an issue.
She learned that “if you’re a good tutor/teacher, your student will appreciate you, no matter what their outcome is. And I learned that everyone is different, there is no 2 that is the same.”
# 4 Event Crew
Aside from the popular picks of being a part-time retail associate or an F&B service crew, many students would opt to be an event helper. If you’d prefer flexible working hours and at the same time be able to earn fast cash, being an event helper would be the best alternative for you.
It would be recommendable to choose events based on your passion to provide a more enjoyable and fruitful working experience.
A student working as an event helper at Changi Airport shares with us: “It was an enjoyable experience being able to communicate and relay the instructions to children. As a result, fuelling up my passion to teach. “
Not only was she able to fuel up her passion for teaching, the job gave her exceptional insights on the importance of teamwork, being responsible and communicating with customers efficiently.
However, the event attendees could be “demanding” and “harsh towards the event crews” especially when they were not able to participate in the events. She mentioned how important it is to constantly be firm and be aware of how to manage such situations.
Opting for a position as an event helper would be the best way possible to earn extra cash, however, if you are slow in obtaining vacant slots, you’ll never be able to land a job.
# 5 Enrichment Programme Assistant
Students may not be qualified to be a full-fledged teacher, so why not be a programme leader instead?
Step out of your comfort zone and try leading and communicating with extensive groups of people to improve on your interpersonal skills. Leading a group of people may be a challenge to some but if you’re able to overcome this obstacle, it’ll make an enormous difference. Start somewhere to gain exposure, perhaps leading a group of young children.
We spoke to a student working as a programme leader for children and she mentioned how her experience was “memorable” and “worthwhile”.
Being a programme leader doesn’t necessarily require you to be a teacher but perhaps a mentor or a figurehead for them. For instance, she was tasked to guide the children through the day and aid them through any difficulties that they may encounter.
However, guiding and leading young children may not be as easy as it seems. Especially since some of them are old enough to know their own mistakes yet not willing to make a change in their attitudes. Despite their tardiness, she finds joy in leading these group of children.
She learned through this job opportunity that “rewarding kids and giving them, words of affirmations will spur them to work even harder and better.”
This value in character is important not only for those who wish to pursue a part-time job as a programme leader but also to those who aspire to be a respectable leader.
Spending Your Time Wisely
Often students jump into getting a random part-time job for the sake of fast cash. However, it is important to get a job catered to your interest and passion. It may not be a quick and smooth process in getting that dream job but the satisfaction in doing what you love will make up for the long wait.