As if you didn’t have enough demands on your time…
Unless you’re living off a big allowance from the Bank of Mom and Dad, you’re probably going to have to work part-time to have spending money in college. Over 60 percent of college students are employed in some capacity outside of school. Popular places of employment are restaurants, bars and retail stores near campus. Some students find work as a tutor or babysitter. Others manage to land a job on campus.
Most part-time student jobs don’t pay very well, and the work isn’t always the most rewarding, but most students agree that having a job is worth the effort because it puts money in your pocket.
Most students attend school full-time and work part-time in the evenings and on weekends. Some do it the other way around, working full-time during the day and only attending night classes. A small percentage of students manage to work full-time and attend class on a full-time basis (how they do this without imploding from stress is still a mystery to the world’s top scientists).
Finding a Job
Most colleges have a career center that can help you find a job that will fit into your school schedule. Some host job fairs a few times a year. Other good places to look for job ads are the classified section of your local newspaper and online job-search sites. If all these methods fail, try asking around to see if any of your friends know of places that are hiring. Networking is a great way to find work.
To have the best chance of being hired, apply in person. Dress professionally and bring a typed resume and cover letter. Introduce yourself and mention how eager you are to work for that particular company. If you haven’t heard back in a few days, call the place to ask about setting up an interview. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t hired at the first few places you apply.
Balancing School and Work
Working and going to school at the same time can be difficult to balance, but it’s not impossible to do. These tips can help you find harmony in your life:
- Make a schedule. Plan your class and work schedules in advance so that you avoid conflicts.
- Ease in. When you get a new job, start with only a few hours a week. Make sure that you enjoy the job and that it doesn’t interfere with your schoolwork too much. Every student is different, but most find that working any more than 15 or 20 hours a week hurts their GPA.
- Be prepared to make sacrifices. School and work both demand a lot of time. You’ll probably have to cut back on the time you spend on hobbies and other leisure activities (sorry: your “beeramid” will remain pathetically small). Making sacrifices does not mean cutting back on how much time you spend on your school assignments, though.
- Make time to relax. You may have less time for leisure, but you can’t cut it out entirely. You still need to make sure you have ample time to unwind and do things you enjoy with friends.
- Do school at work. If your job has downtime, and your boss agrees to let you, use your free time at work to do schoolwork. This obviously isn’t possible at all jobs, but it’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
- School comes first. In the event that you can’t reach a compromise between the demands of school and work, always choose school. Quitting your job isn’t nearly as life-changing as dropping out of school. You can always find another job, but you may not get another chance at a college education.