As we enter December and journey closer to Christmas, any cash we can scrape together must be used for something other than buying cans and tobacco. Whether your course has dragged you into yet another Secret Santa exchange or you simply feel inclined to spread holiday cheer through commercialised gifts, you realise that money is running tight.
However you cannot show up to Christmas empty handed. And while there is nothing wrong with pulling the “impoverished student” card, it would be nice to be able to give back to your friends or family in a way that money can buy.
Now, as a student without a job, I will most likely be recycling presents that my relatives have long forgotten about or frantically perusing Dublin’s charity shops in attempts to find something worthy of wrapping. For students who manage to maintain a job outside of college and are successful in balancing work and study, they may find peace in knowing they can splurge on a “special something” for their loved ones.
Having the option to go above and beyond in the gift department certainly must be comforting but, as with all prospects, having to work around Christmas time has its downfalls.
When English and Film student Hugh Whelan, who works at Bookworm on Abbey Street, was asked how he felt about having a job during the holidays, he reflected on its solitary nature. “The cons for me are that I have to stay in Dublin during the holidays when all my family are in Cork. And a lot of my housemates are gone as well – so it’s a lonely experience.” Spending valuable time away from the homestead ensures that the notion of having a job can seem a little less promising. Be that as it may, Whelan did add that “the pros are getting loads of money, of which I need for college as well as amenities.”
Law student Zahra Khan, an Arnott’s employee, focused more on the con of having to sacrifice her social life for economic means. “A steady stream of income is handy around Christmas in terms of the amount of college or society nights that take place and also due to the need to buy presents. However, as retail is at its busiest period, you might find yourself working long hours and those hours might clash with said Christmas parties and events. You also can find yourself too tired to want to go out so the whole thing seems a bit counterproductive. The added stress of course assignment due dates around Christmas is also worth taking into account. However, I guess this is the last year we can take advantage of not having Christmas exams and being able to commit to a seasonal job, whereas it might not be an option from next year.”
For those of us who can sacrifice a few nights out in exchange for the promise of excess funds, it seems that having a job is well worth the time that is compromised. However, if you still haven’t managed to tie down part-time employment or simply can’t be bothered to, you won’t be the only Trinity student struggling to find the means to treat your loved ones to lavish gifts this Christmas.