There are many reasons you might want to get a job while in college. From paying tuition to getting extra income, finding work might seem like an obvious choice. But others wonder if they will still have time for friends or if their grades will drop. As with other big decisions, there are pros and cons, and you’ll want to do your research before deciding.
Alternatives to Working in School
While there are advantages of getting a job in college, you might find it’s a distraction from your work. Plus, you may not have as much time to recharge, which is important to keep from getting burned out. Luckily, there are alternatives. For example, look for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid. If you are still in high school, save as much as you can. Loans can help bridge the gap between financial aid and what you can reasonably afford. If you have maxed out your available federal loans, consider applying for a private student loan. That way, you might be able to work fewer hours or not at all to reduce your stress while in school.
Benefits of Having a Job in College
School can be expensive, even after financial aid. You might have to pay some fees out of pocket, such as books. And having a job also gives you more spending money. It’s often fun to go out to eat since dining hall meals can become repetitive. And having money to attend a big concert can be a great way to relax after midterms. Even if you’re just working in your college’s cafeteria, having a job looks good on your resume. It tells potential employers that you can balance a job with an intense school schedule. It also gives you valuable experience, allowing you to meet people who might help you with networking. You might be surprised that having a job in school can boost your grades. That might be because balancing classes, studying, and shifts require you to manage your time better.
Why You Might Not Want to Work While in College
The time you spend at work is time you aren’t studying, sleeping, catching up on readings, or hanging out with friends. Even if you just do 10 to 20 hours each week, you might lose time elsewhere. Your priorities might clash, and there might not be enough time to relax. Plus, having a job while in school may cause scheduling issues. Perhaps you’re off only a few minutes before class, and there might not be enough time to arrive on time. Or a job may get in the way of an extra credit event you need to attend to boost your grades. And if your friends want to go to a fun event, you might not be able to attend since you have a shift. Between your work and keeping up with class assignments, you might end up feeling exhausted and burned out. That doesn’t help you memorize material for tests or final exams. College can be stressful already, and working too much might overload you.