I like to think of myself as a pretty open-minded person. For the most part, I try to stay away from dogma and generalizations because as we all know, sometimes they’re just flat-out wrong.
But this is one thing that I am absolutely not budging on.
If you are in college, there is no reason why you should not have a part-time job of some kind. I don’t care if you’re flipping burgers at the dining hall or doing some kind of high-powered paid internship. If all you’re doing at school is studying and hanging out, you’re doing it wrong.
If you haven’t guessed by now, this week’s Money Clip focuses on an article we mentioned last week from About.com, titled “Best Part Time Jobs for College Students.” While a lot of them are great choices (library monitors and fitness center employees make bank for minimal work), there are probably a bit harder to find (babysitting your professor’s children?!).
But I’m more concerned about the idea behind having a job at all, much less so than what you’re actually doing in said job.
Although you’re still a student when you move on from the world of horrendous lunches and lockers to the world of academia and dorm rooms, high school and college are nothing alike. In high school, you most likely had class 5 days a week for 8 hours a day (aka, a full-time job). I can almost understand the impetus behind not wanting to add some part-time money-making on top of that.
But that excuse completely falls apart when you go to college. Why? Well, mainly because:
- You probably live there, which means no time lost commuting back and forth.
- You do not have class every day of the week. It’s very easy to pull off a 3-day weekend with either no Friday or Monday classes. I know, I’ve done it 3 times (and only been in college for 4 semesters).
- College homework does not equal high school homework. I’m a homework nerd and tend to do it all anyway, but let’s be honest here: Nobody is going to collect your work to make sure you did it. There’s no excuse to not do it of course, but if you happen to skip an assigned reading here and there, the world will not end.
You probably see where I’m going with this: you have much more spare time in college than you did in high school. And studying does not (well, should not) eat all of it up. Neither should partying. So, to fill up all that time when you’d normally be slouched in your dorm burning through your Netflix account, get a job.
And for the sake of this post not turning into some kind of essay, I’m going to attempt to only briefly touch upon the sense of “job entitlement” that everyone seems to think that Gen Y has.
I do not care how smart you are, what unique skills you have, or how attractive you are. Your socio-economic background and upbringing are irrelevant. You are not above flipping burgers or cleaning bathrooms. No student is.
I worked in the fast food industry for 5 years (starting when I was 15 years old) to save up pocket money. Last year, I juggled a paid internship, a tutoring job, and a full course load. Now I’m here. Trust me, you will never understand what it means to move up the “corporate” ladder until you start at the very (and I mean very) bottom rung.
So, in short: Get a job while you’re at school. You have the time for it (I will fight to the death to prove that to you), and you need money. It also builds character and your résumé. The only thing you’ll lose is some free time.
I promise, it’s a worthwhile trade.
(Photo: Flickr/Kake Pugh)