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Why You Should Consider Working through College

Between going to your classes, studying, volunteering, participating in groups on campus, and spending time with friends, how can you possibly find the time to work while you’re in college? As many who have been there will tell you, the less time you have, the more time you find! As a former student worker while in college, and someone who supervises student workers now, I have seen firsthand that much of what studies say about working while in school are true. Here a few key elements:

Improve Your Time Management: Working a job while in college, either on-campus or off-campus, can help improve your time management skills. Keep in mind that studies say it is best to work less than 15 hours a week if you are a full-time student to give yourself enough time to stay on top of your school work (St. Amour, 2019). Consider gradually increasing your hours as you progress through your education to help incrementally increase your time management skills. For example, if you’re working in your first year of college, try sticking to two four-hour shifts a week (and try to make one, or both, on weekends!). As you get comfortable with your school workload, you can increase your hours at work.

Gain Valuable Experience and Connections: If you haven’t heard it before, it’s okay if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life while you’re in college! College is an amazing time to gain a wide variety of experiences and see where your passion lies.  Along with building your fundamental communication and professionalism skills, you can learn a lot from your coworkers and supervisors, who make great job references after graduation.  

Start Learning or Improving Money Management Skills: College students come from a wide variety of economic backgrounds, but all students can learn money management skills as a result of working during college. If you’re used to working and paying some bills with your paycheck, try to work on your saving and budgeting skills. If you’re new to working while in college or are used to using your financial aid refunds to cover your expenses, start learning about how to build your credit or pay down your student loans.

There are many benefits to working while you are in college, but make sure you find a position that works with your school schedule, has an environment that keeps you motivated, and supervisors who understand that school comes first. If you’re ready to start looking, check out our Student Jobs page and get assistance from UC’s Career Education Center on resumes, interview preparation, and more!