Should I Get A Job During College?

Getting a job in your teen years is something most do not look forward to. Yes, it’s awesome having your own money to spend on whatever you want; but doing the actual work part is typically dreaded. Although most students just work part-time, a job can still be very time consuming. Whether or not you should look for a job your first year of college is something to consider before arriving on campus.

Consider taking the first semester off

Adjusting to the lifestyle of a college student takes a while in the beginning. Learning how to balance your schoolwork and friends is hard enough, so adding a job into the mix gets stressful. With that said, school is expensive and whether you’re paying for tuition or not, extra cash will always be needed. I suggest taking your first semester off to mold into the groove of things before looking for a job. Once winter break rolls around, you should be accustomed to this new lifestyle enough to consider tackling a job. Winter break is a great time to sort out all your options and find out what places are hiring. Once you’ve set your mind on a handful, turn in applications and resumes to all. The more you turn in, the better chance you have at getting a call back. Since some students graduate in the winter and will be leaving their campus jobs, this is the perfect time for you to fill their shoes.

Time management is key

Once you’ve charmed your way through interviews and landed a job, the next obstacle is organizing work around classes. Print out your semester schedule and give it to your managers right away so they can accurately make a schedule that won’t overlap with school. If your job is near or on campus, businesses are used to working around multiple class schedules and will try their best to make everyone happy.

Time management becomes very important once you start working because you’ll be balancing work, class, homework, friends, and whatever other extracurricular activities you participate in. Try looking for a job that will have the best hours for your schedule. Most student jobs are either in retail or food, and the hours vary greatly from one to the other. I work at a breakfast restaurant (Bob Evans, anyone?) and am usually at work by 8 a.m. on the weekends. This means I sometimes have to sacrifice going out with friends the night before so I’m rested enough to wait on customers. But I prefer that over a bar—my roommate works at a bar and she will be there until 3 a.m. multiple times a week! Working late can easily take a toll on your performance in school, so be cautious of that before working somewhere with late hours.

Having a job might mean making sacrifices

Getting a job during school also means potentially missing out on school sporting events, holidays, and other random events you’ll want to attend. If you’ve never had a job before, this can come as a major shock when you have to pass something up for work. My suggestion when it comes to sporting events is not buying season tickets if you have a job. I bought both football and basketball season tickets my freshman year and barely ended up making it to half of the games because I was always scheduled to work.

Avoid wasting money by only buying an individual ticket for a game when you don’t work—people are always selling their tickets so it’s usually not hard to find one last minute. If you do have or want to get season tickets, request the days you’ll need off way in advance; and if your manager won’t give you every game off, ask that you be able to attend at least half of the games.

Cash in your pocket and bank account is about the only thing on students’ minds as they juggle working while going to school. While many college jobs are at the bottom of the barrel and far off from what you’ll be doing in the future, they’re not all that bad. It’s likely that most of your co-workers will also be students, making the work environment less intimidating. Jobs are a great way to make new friends, earn some extra cash, and to fill up more space on your resume.

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Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson is a junior at Michigan State University working towards her journalism degree with a specialization in documentary film. She designs and writes for a campus magazine and is a server at Bob Evans. When Jordyn has free time she likes to watch movies and her favorite show Breaking Bad, spend hours on tumblr, go on adventures with friends and travel.
Jordyn Timpson

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