By COLLIN JOHNSON
Every college student faces the decision of whether to work while in school, or live off of money from loans and summer jobs. A study from Forbes shows that about 14 million students choose to work a part time job while taking classes. Most students do it for the financial benefit. Working means needing less loan money to pay tuition, as well as having a source of spending money for going out with friends, buying groceries, etc. However, there are many benefits to working while in school other than just financial.
Working while in college helps reinforce time management skills. A student that is working will have less free time to study, do homework, or participate in extracurriculars like clubs and sports These are all unavoidable parts of the college experience though and students who work have an extra task to add to their daily to do list.
Having to add a job to the mix forces students to really balance out their schedules and plan ahead for how and when everything will be completed. Pushing assignments off until the last minute is not always an option if you have to work when the assignment is due.
Working while in school also boosts your resume when applying for jobs after school. A future employer will love to see that you have prior work experience, as well as see that you are disciplined enough to handle both school and work. This added experience creates a more rounded resume which will give you an advantage over other applicants while applying for future jobs.
Forbes also found that less than half of college graduates are prepared to work or are prepared for the real world. This is due largely to lack of knowing how to function in a professional work environment. Students without prior experience may go into a job with unrealistic expectations of how they should handle themselves and what is expected of them in a workplace setting.
Not knowing what to expect will cause many recent grads to have a hard time advancing within a company, and often times struggle to even hold a job. Professional work experience prior to graduating can eliminate this hurdle that many seem to face.
Communication skills are key with virtually any job. Learning how to communicate with coworkers and managers is something that just cannot be taught in school. The student-professor and student-student relationships are very different than what you will find in most work environments.
Already knowing how to properly communicate with your coworkers and managers will give you a good foundation to build upon in your professional career, once again giving you another advantage and making you more marketable while job hunting.
A part time job can also be seen as a learning experience to help you figure out what you may or may not want to do with your future career. A job may be related to what you are in school for, and this could make you that much more excited about your future career, or it might make you realize that you are in the wrong field and maybe it’s time to consider making a change. When I began college, I started out as a computer science major.
I really enjoyed doing the work but struggled with it a lot. My second semester of freshman year I got a job selling cars. I’ve always been a big car guy so when it came to whether or not to apply it was a no brainer. The longer I worked there, the more and more I began to love working in sales. Since this experience, I have changed majors from computer science to marketing, and plan to work in network and storage (IT) sales. This is something that combines two things I really enjoy, computer and sales. If I had not gotten a part time job I never would have found this out.
Working in school is not something that should be overlooked. There are so many reasons to do it, and so few not to. There are many jobs out there that are willing to work around a college student’s schedule and really limit your hours if that is agreed upon up front. In my job, for example, I only work two days during the week and Saturday and Sunday. My employers also give me time off during finals, and allow me to work on homework and study while at work. If you can find the right job for you, then working in school is an experience worth having.