When it comes to being a student, most people tend to think of it as being their full-time job. And don’t get me wrong, it is a full-time job between spending countless hours a week in class, and then taking the time afterward for intense homework and studying for tests. It can seem like a lot to handle on its own. For those of us who choose to work a part-time job in our spare time while at college, it can seem daunting to try and find the time to complete assignments and also make it to work. But we do it anyway. Why? Well, let me weigh out the pros and cons of working an on and off-campus job while being a full-time student from my personal experience.
For some, we have no option but to find an off-campus job, because how else would we afford to pay for college while we’re here? We also need to buy groceries and everyday necessities. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have parents who pay their way or have a big enough savings from the summer. Dealing with our expenses can sometimes be a huge weight on our shoulders that we can’t seem to shake off.
When I was a first-year student, my mother advised me not to get a job during my freshman year so that I could make friends and fully experience the campus culture. Of course I didn’t listen to her and within my first week here I applied to as many jobs as I could. People like me just feel unproductive when they don’t have a steady income, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s also nothing wrong with choosing not to work because obviously school comes first, and that’s totally understandable. My freshman year I got a job on-campus as a lab monitor in the Media Arts Center. On-campus jobs are great because the school offers work-study programs where you can work about 8 hours a week and the money you make can be put towards tuition for those who need financial aid. Not to mention you usually get to do your homework while on shift, which is a huge bonus. There’s also student-hourly positions, like mine, where we just get paid minimum wage and have freedom to spend it on what we want, or save it if you wish. For some, having an on-campus job is the best option because it helps them put time towards getting homework done while also receiving money towards tuition. But what about off-campus jobs?
Off-campus jobs are beneficial because they usually pay more than on-campus jobs, and you meet new people that you wouldn’t otherwise. It also helps open up more doors for extended opportunities, especially if you manage to find a job that is relative to your field of study. I currently have two off-campus jobs and an on-campus job, and let me tell you, it comes with a whole lot of time management and preparation each and every week. It helps to get an off-campus job where you can create a set schedule every week so you are always working the same days and hours and don’t have to worry about being scheduled for a shift that interferes with classes. Not many people could handle a large amount of work on top of school, and there’s no shame in that. We all work at our own pace and have our boundaries. For those of you who are ambitious like me, don’t hesitate to apply for jobs that interest you to make some extra spending money. If you see an opportunity or think you have the time to take on a few shifts a week then go for it, apply for that job! Internships are also a great opportunity to gain more experience in your field but they often come with a great deal of responsibility. Internships are beneficial because oftentimes they lead to a better job opportunity within your field of study and that’s what we’re all here for, right?
All-in-all, any job is added experience to your resume even if it has nothing to do with your major. Basic part-time jobs often teach students more about customer service, business and money management, time management, problem solving and common sense, all of which are extremely important skill sets in the real world no matter what your career is going to be. The more work experience you have, the more confidence you’ll have going into a new job opportunity after college. But don’t think that an off-campus job is something you can just half-a**, because nowadays employers have this idea already that students have a poor work ethic, so you want to understand the responsibility and effort that goes into having an off-campus job before you get hired and realize it’s actually a lot of work, and oftentimes it does really come down to your personal ambition and work ethic.
Laura Romaniello can be contacted