The Pros and Cons of Working during College

As tuition goes up and financial aid opportunities go down, more college students are picking up part-time or even full-time employment to supplement their incomes. Having that little bit of extra money for emergencies or splurges may sound nice, but the juggle of a job and school at the same time is much more strenuous than often expected. While holding a job provides more money, more experience, and better references, college students often have to sacrifice their time, deal with more stress, and eventually are forced to choose between their studies and their work.

The Pros of Working

1. Holding a job means extra income.

This is the most beloved reason for a student to go to work – a paycheck means some more money to buy that iPod, eat with friends, or even just make that month’s rent. No matter the reason, a college student rarely does not appreciate having a little spare cash lying around.

2. Working gives a student extra experience.

If the worker manages to get a position in his/her chosen profession, that job could provide similar lessons as those learned in the classroom. Job experience looks great on a resume, especially since it implies that the student had the ability to juggle both school and employment without any major difficulties. Working through school shows dedication, maturity, and good time management, and those are always impressive qualities.

3. Having a job through college builds networks and references.

Supervisors provide a view of the student that is not often seen in school-related activities, like how the student responds to directions and how the student acts in a professional position. Additionally, if the student works in a position that applies to what he/she intends to do as a career, then meeting people already in that profession can help the student form a network to find jobs and other opportunities in the future.

Working during College

The Cons of Working

1. Working means having less time.

Students who work do not have the same sort of free periods as students who are not employed. They may miss activities going on at school, like meetings, parties, or extracurricular sports. Being employed during school can have a serious impact on a student’s college experience by limiting their free time.

2. Holding a job causes more stress.

As stated above, having both a job and attending school requires focus, dedication and time management; however, these positive traits also add to a student’s stress. The extra responsibility can take its toll, leading to more worry, less sleep, and more problems in school and work.

3. Having a job during college will often result in a student having to prioritize one over the other.

Due to stress and time constraints, students usually end up having to focus more on either school or their jobs. That means that one will have to be sacrificed to succeed at the other. Employers often realize that school tends to come first for a student, but students themselves have to accept that they must be flexible. If one is not set as a priority over the other, the student may very well fail at both.

What do all these mean?

Students must seriously consider all the positives and negatives that will come along with having a job during college. The extra money and experience are always nice, but the demands of the job along with the stress of school can really drag down a student. In worst case scenarios, students end up working themselves into exhaustion. They may drop out of school, lose the job, or both.

Anyone considering employment during school needs to realize how the job may affect schoolwork, how the schoolwork can affect the job, and whether or not he/she can handle the ups and downs of work. Not everyone is cut out to work during school, and so long as one can survive without the paycheck, that is just as acceptable as someone who does work through college. It all depends on what the student decides.