Working while studying has become trendy for the past few years. To some students, it is sheer extra pleasure while to others, it is essential. In this article, I will discuss thoroughly the merits and demerits of being a part-time employee.
I. Why should you work while studying?
In this fast-paced society, you should not just sit still and do nothing more other than studying. As a young contender for the future job market, being active and versatile is a requisite. Taking a job while studying will help you brace yourself for what is in store by the time you graduate from university.
II. Pros and cons
1. Pros of working while studying
- Impress potential employers with hands-on experience
As soon as you enter the job-hunting market, you will unavoidably encounter fellows with the same degree and desires to work in the same field. What will make you stand out from the crowd? The answer is an experience. The fact that you work alongside studying proves your ability to multitask and take proactive actions to thrive in your future career. That will, without a doubt, set your CV apart from other nominees’ and attract the eye of the recruiters.
Therefore, in light of such intense competition against other future candidates, take a part-time job if you want a head- start in your career.
- Lear more about the real world
It is particularly true if you are an international student 1. Of course, there must be gaps in table manners and lifestyles between your hometown and the country in which you are living. What’s a better way to be fully immersed in the new culture rather than working and studying simultaneously?
By working part-time, you get a chance to meet people from different backgrounds and gain a better understanding of how they blend in. Such a multi-dimensional community will enable you to overcome cultural disparities and finally, live in the moment. Who knows when you might even advance strong relationships with someone?
- Earn extra money
Not every student comes from affluent families. Some cannot cover their daily expenses, let alone tuition fees. Then, working part-time will be an ideal choice. Though the money obtained from the job might be small, it will, to some extent, lessen the financial burden.
- Acquire a more comprehensive skill set
When venturing into a part-time job, not only will you learn how to earn money but also other essential skills. You’ll attain a more solid grasp of problem-solving strategies, setting realistic goals and recognizing people’s feeling. You do not just learn theoretically. You actually apply what you know to real life situations. As a result, a part-time job will transform you from a rote learner to a practical person with all well-rounded qualities needed in life.
2. Cons of working while studying
- Distracting students from their studies
Too deep attachment to working will divert your attention from the number one priority: studying. Especially when you have an important exam ahead, sole commitment to your part-time job will surely disadvantage you a lot. Before long, looking back at your scores, you’ll regret that you should have had concentrated on your school performance rather than pursued business ventures.
- Having a negative effect on their personality development
Young and naive as students might be, they do not totally understand the harsh realities of the world. To those easily fragile, they are not in a strong position to undertake early employment. Exposure to an unpredictable and daunting world will cause a sense of frustration.
- Creating a false impression of the job market
It is a striking fact that the majority of part-time jobs are usually incompatible with what they actually want to achieve. For instance, you are studying a law major. However, unlike your wish to intern for a law firm, your initial job might just be bringing coffee in a cafe. Such experience will shake your confidence, leaving you to think that you are not qualified or this temporary job could be your career.
3. Factors to consider
- Will your schedule permit you to do part-time work?
It is the question that must be answered instantly before you decide to work while studying. You need to take a close look at your academic timetable and then adjust your working time accordingly. During mid-term, for example, when you are overwhelmed with homework, put your job aside. Try to explain the situation to your employers and ask them for a leave. Remember, tempting as the part-time job can be, your priority is still studying. You may have your salary cut or sacked even worse, but that is nothing when compared to a disappointing school report.
- What are the industries that support part-time employment?
Service-providing industries are the ones that provide the most part-time jobs. You can easily find an undergraduate student working in a fast food restaurant or in an ice-cream store everywhere. Despite the low salary, it’s still a great start which gives precious experience. Or you can apply for internships in high-ranking companies, though the criteria are considerably stricter.
- Other work-while-study programs: Internship and volunteer
These days, many universities and companies offer collaborative programs where you can work and study at the same time. Participation in these programs will allow you to do your job without the fear of the harmful effects that disengagement from schooling can bring.
For example, in Macquarie University, students have the opportunity to be enrolled in the PACE unit programs with an aim to providing students with first-hand experience in different industries.
4. Where to get help
You can check your university’s career website for more information about part-time jobs. Also, consult career advisors if possible.
In summary, working while studying has its upsides and downsides in which the former far outweigh the latter. I hold a firm belief that while in university, you should look for a part-time job so as to consolidate your skill set, enhance chances of employment, interact with the culture and put less strain on your financial budget.