As a college student, you’ve already got so many things to worry about like homework, finals, games (if you’re on a sports team), club events, and having a social life. When you add a part-time job to that mix of responsibilities, balancing things can get a bit tricky; however, if you keep yourself organized and focused, it is certainly not an impossible task. Tons of college students successfully work part-time during their time in school, and so can you, if you keep these basics in mind.
Why You Should Do It
College may be the first time you’ve had responsibilities of your own and the first time you’ve ever truly been away from home, so now is the time to be your own person. Instead of relying on your parents for gas and grocery money, show them the independent adult you are and start taking on some of your own expenses. A part-time job will also provide you with spending money on your social life as well, funding things like mall or bar trips with friends. If this will be your first job ever, you need to have something on your resume before you graduate and enter the real workforce, so why not start building it with a small part-time job? Any resume experience is a good experience.
Pick Up Hours When You Need Them
The great thing about working part-time is that it’s usually very easy to pick up more hours when you need extra cash on hand, without being locked into a 40 hour work week. Talk to your supervisor about picking up extra hours and see if they need extra support on any particular days - that'll help you out financially and also show your supervisor your flexibility and willingness to help out the staff. Additional hours are almost always available on weekends and breaks, so keep an eye out for a sign-up sheet or get in touch with your management.
School Comes First
Unless your part-time job is your actual dream career, your school work should always come first on your list of priorities. It is not worth that extra buck if you fail your next test. Remember why you’re where you are in the first place - to get your degree, not be a dishwasher in the dining hall. Also, know that this doesn’t mean you should constantly blow off your job for school - it simply means you need to find an adequate work/school life balance concerning your schedule (and mental health), otherwise taking the job isn’t worth it.
Take Time For Yourself
The most important part of having a part-time job while you’re in college is not overwhelming yourself. If possible, schedule your part-time hours to allow for some relaxation time after or before work and in between classes. If you are constantly going from work to school or vice versa, you’re going to exhaust yourself and leave yourself with no time for studying or homework. Find a schedule that allows you time to rest and goof off with your friends - it’s important to take a breather every now and then.
Working part-time in college is not as scary as it sounds - with some simple time management and organization, any college student can study for their degree and pocket some cash at the same time.
Sarah DeLena is currently studying for her masters in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College. She hopes to become an editor of YA literature, her favorite genre, own at least two golden retrievers, and further the legacy of the Oxford comma.