Should You Have A Job While In College?

Written by: Brianne Addison

The debate as to whether or not students should have a job while in college is an interesting one. For some, it’s not a debate at all, but a necessity. For others, it’s simply a craving (who doesn’t want to earn some extra cash?) Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of working while in college before accepting a job offer.





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SourceThe thing to remember is not what kind of job to choose, but rather, how many hours to accept. Most college students are enrolled full time, or at least close to full time, and  going to class plus the massive amounts of homework that follow can become overwhelming. Never mind going to work for several hours afterward. Many students do it, however, and many succeed. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 79 percent of students do work while in college. Of those 79 percent, those who work 10-15 hours are more likely to succeed in college, more so, even, than the students who don’t work at all.
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I held a job while in college and I am a firm believer in that students should do so. From making sandwiches for hungry college student’s to bartending at private parties on the beach, I’ve worked with, and for, an array of eccentric individuals from all different backgrounds and of differing ages. Each person has given me a different perspective on life, each one has a story to tell. Stories are interesting and sometimes they are better told by those who are not enrolled in the same institution as you.


I believe in working while in college because jobs give students a taste of the “real world”. Whether it be in a coffee shop down the street or in the library on-campus, putting on a uniform and clocking into work a few times a week is beneficial in the long run. It teaches students practical, life skills such as patience, communication, and organization. It can also open up a student’s social circle if they chose to work on or near their campus by putting them in contact with other students whom they wouldn’t have spoken to if not for being forced to scoop ice cream together.

From dealing with horrendous customers, working under a deadline, or learning to manage time efficiently, the lessons learned on the job sometimes feel more real than lessons learned in the classroom, often because… well… they are. Being late to work is usually much less forgivable than turning in a paper a day late; there are no do-overs.

Of course, working too much while going to school comes with consequences.

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Some students put too much time and energy into receiving a paycheck and neglect their academics. Working too much can even lead to dropping out of school altogether. That’s why it’s so important to maintain a balance between going to work and attending school. Give school roughly 85% of your attention and devote the rest to work, or another extracurricular activity. In the end, it’s definitely better to become acquainted with the workforce early on. College doesn’t last forever and it’s smart to obtain skills needed to enter life after college. Just maintain a healthy work-to-school ratio and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t hold a job while in college.




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