Working While In College
One of the first things you may realize about college is that it is EXPENSIVE. Tuition itself can create a great financial burden, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! You also have to think about rent, groceries, car payments, gas, cell phone, utilities, and any other bills you may have. Working while in school is a magnificent balancing act that requires planning, time management, and sacrifice.
1.Why You Need a Job
When looking for a job you need to know what your goal is in having a job. Do you need a job that will boost your resume (something related to your field of study)? A job that will help you make fat stacks? Or maybe something that is just enough to live off of? Does your financial aid include work-study? All of these things? Once you understand that, you can identify and apply for a variety of jobs that fit your needs.
2. Create a Schedule
Next, create a time management plan! My best tip for this is to schedule your studying time. Schedule what time you will study and for what class every day. This way you are fully aware of your assignments and will be less likely to forget to turn things in. One method, use the calendar on your phone and color code all of your tasks into categories like homework, work, social, and family. Another tip, once you find a job, share your class schedule with your employer so they won’t schedule you during class time.
3. Work Smarter
Something to consider is the versatility of work and school granted by modern technology. There may be semesters when it is easier to work the job you want if you take online classes. This minimizes your time going to and from campus and allows for a more flexible schedule. On the other hand, if you are confined to taking classes on campus and have a complicated schedule, think about looking for a job you can do online!
Take advantage of the connections available to you when looking for a job. Talk to your professors’, go to campus job fairs, networking events, and other social events to make meaningful connections that can lead to a great job. In the past, I have learned about internships simply by making small talk with people sitting near me before my class lecture starts.
5. It Probably Won’t Be Your Dream Job (and That’s Okay!)
Some college jobs will be a test of your humility and really make you swallow your pride. Scrubbing toilets and collecting trash is most likely not your dream job - however, if it pays the bills and allows you time to attend your classes, it’s worth it. And keep in mind, no matter what you job is, take away from it skills you can apply to your growth and future career.
Working with people can teach you customer service skills, cleaning can teach you to organization and efficiency. Any job will teach you how to work with coworkers and how to be part of a company. This time in life is probably not when you will have a luxurious work environment with benefits galore - so don’t expect that, but be open-minded and willing to learn.
When it comes down to it, you need to understand what’s right for you. It’s not the same as what someone else is doing. Working while going to school may not be right for everyone. I have found it to be a difficult, but rewarding thing in my life to learn to balance work and school. Working while in school is also a great way to transition into adulthood as we learn to provide for ourselves and be productive members of society.
Lastly, remember that no one is perfect. There will be times when that balancing act is a little off-balance (or completely off balance) and everything (grades, finances, mental health, you know the feeling) comes crashing down. Pick yourself up, ask for help, and get back to work.
The only one standing in your way of succeeding is yourself. When it comes to working and going to school at the same time, you will need strict self-discipline in order to succeed, but the growth that comes because of it is well worth the effort.