What’s great about so many colleges is that they accept students based on merit, regardless of financial background. This ensures that they get the strongest students to uphold the reputation of their institution. However, this also means that many students around the world are left paying for a portion (if not all) of their education by themselves. This is also the case for many students who go to community colleges in general (even if community college is nearly free in a lot of cases. For both cases, this leads to students taking on part-time jobs while being a student, which is what we want to talk about today.
In high school, you aren’t (typically) burdened with any expenses, such as food, gas, and especially relevant to this discussion, your education. Your parents or guardians will take care of all expenses for you, which is admittedly a nice thing to not have to worry about it. However, in college, although you aren’t totally responsible for expenses, the burden of paying for your education does shift onto you, at least a little bit. Financial aid will only do so much for some families, leaving the student to pay for the difference in expenses in order to go to school there. Or even worse off, some parents do not support their children when it comes to furthering their education at all, leaving all of the burden on the student. And although both situations can be remedied through the use of part-time jobs, doing so is not always easy for students.
What makes part-time jobs difficult in particular is the fact that they are juggling a part-time job with being a full-time student. This often leaves less hours than there are in the day to get everything done. Not only that, but a lot of part-time jobs for college students are in the service industry, whether that involves being a waiter or waitress, or working in a fast food restaurant. In both cases, such work is physically taxing and literally makes students too tired to work in some cases. This can lead to your grades suffering, which is never good.
So how can you potentially limit the negative side effects of working a part-time job? First off, only work if you absolutely need to, and only for as many hours as you need to. There’s a reason why parents with the means to pay for college in its entirety often prefer their children to avoid working while in school and that is because their education is infinitely more important than any extra income that students may gain through part-time work. If your grades end up suffering due to your work schedule, and you don’t need to even work in the first place, it is highly recommended that you quit your job. Or at least lower the number of hours you are working each week, to allow yourself more time to focus on your classwork.
Another effective way to navigate part-time work while being a student is to cut off social media. Note that we aren’t saying cut off social interactions in general, but to simply delete your Facebook or whatever app you use while you are working. People waste so much time on social media, and often without realizing it. By taking this simple step, you will inevitably waste less time mindlessly catching up with other people’s lives and more time focusing on your own.
Part-time jobs are typically a less-than-optimal situation for students to be in. Having said that though, making it all work with your overall schedule is doable if you make a concerted effort and the necessary sacrifices. When push comes to shove, getting an education, even if it means having to work a part-time job, is totally worth it, so if you are in this sort of situation, focus on the end goal and always remember that your part-time job is just a means to a (worthwhile) end!