Well, well, well. Today's Guardian tells us that it's now official: if students work at paid jobs while they are at uni, their chances of getting a first or a 2:1 are reduced by a third. I'm glad someone has at last got round to doing a proper survey on this. For the last 15 years or so I've been nagging at school pupils - especially those aspiring to a Higher English pass - to consider the relative importance of a job in Safeway against the possibility that they might get a good enough bunch of Highers not to end up working there for the rest of their lives. I might as well have saved my breath for all the difference it made - and there were plenty of teachers ready to tell me how THEY had toiled in some low-paid job through THEIR degree - and look at how well they'd done!
I have always subscribed to the idea that if you're a student, you need time not just to study but to BE. To lie on your unmade bed and stare at the ceiling, if need be. To read books that are not necessary for your course. To stay up half the night chatting with your intellectual equals - not the punters in whatever pub you're employed in. To indulge in extra-curricular activities that nourish the soul and not just the bank balance. And if you feel financially inferior as a result? Such a life as I've sketched out doesn't call for loads of dosh. You don't need to be drunk every night, or dressed to kill. (And if you're working in Safeway you'll not be drunk either, and you'll have to wear a hideous pinny) And yes, I know that Safeway has disappeared from these shores - but they're the ones I railed against all these years - and the ones with the hideous pinnies.
Life and the need to earn money come soon enough. Anyone who can put it all off should do so. For as long as possible.