Photo by Jessica Johnson.
The option to work during our college years is a decision college students have to decide during our time here. At times, we have no choice but to get a job. Whatever the reason, getting a job is a big step for those attending school as they work.
Some students, like myself, go all four years having a job, while some choose not to work at all. I personally advocate for students to get a job at least once during their time in college. Whether a student works because they have to or because it’s an option, all depends on the student’s situation. Some work because they have to pay for school, living, food, etc.; some work just to have a little extra spending money in their pockets. Whatever the case may be, getting a job can be intimidating at times.
For a lot of us, we get our first job while away at school. Getting a job is a big responsibility and mixing it with school could go either really well or really poorly. It is really up to the individual to determine if they want to take that next step.
There are a ton of students, including myself, who have enjoyed working during school and the opportunities that presents. Some benefits working has brought me are allowing me to have extra spending money, networking with a plethora of people and getting a little taste of the real world. Other benefits that can come with getting a job during school could be helping to pay for school, gaining time and money management skills, and even helping improve grades, due to being able to balance work and school properly.
A huge benefit with getting a job relating to your field of study is finding a job when you’re finally done with school. Developing connections with people in your industry plays a major part in finding a job. If you use your resources right and to their full potential, you’ll set yourself up for immediate success. In today’s market, finding a job is largely about who you know, so developing those connections early is important.
Now if you do decide to work while you attend school, the question of how much you should work comes up. You’re not going to want to work full time because that will severely interfere with school. If you get an on-campus job, it will be a lot easier for them to work with your school schedule because they realize that is a priority. The amount of time a student works entirely depends on the student. Some students can handle 30 or so hours a week, others are better off with about 15 hours a week; it all depends on what will allow you to succeed to the best of your abilities.
While there are a ton of benefits to working during college, there are also some negatives that come along with it. Working can interfere with your study time and social life, and can cause stress and even intervene with you using school resources to their full potential.
If working at the same time as going to school becomes too much at some point, it’s okay to stop either one to put your focus into the other; you just have to do whatever is best for you. If you have to pay for school yourself and you must work, stop school and build up some money first and go back whenever it’s convenient. If work is completely optional, stop working and focus on your studies. At the end of the day your mental health is your number one priority, and whether you decide to work or not, that should be taken into consideration first.
I encourage everyone in college to go and get a job to try it out once. There is only one way to find out if you’ll like it or not and that is to actually do it. Out of everyone I know that has worked during college, none of them regret it and have continued to work throughout all their college years.