Jobs and College

Consider this question: should you get a job while you’re at college? Some of you don’t even have to worry about earning extra money because you’re lucky enough to have your parents pay all your expenses. Some of you need money to pay for school and housing and therefore definitely have to work.

For the rest of you, the question is a bit tougher. For example, some students’ parents will pay for some things, like tuition, but leave the cost of other important things for the student to deal with. These costs might include rent, food, gas, entertainment, etc. These students often feel forced to get a job because living at the standards they’re used to without a steady stream of income would be difficult or impossible. There are also those students who, though their parents pay for most things, feel they want to take greater responsibility for their life, gain work experience, and have extra spending money.

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If you’re thinking about getting a job, it’s important to make a plan before you go out looking for them. Don’t just take the first job you see. Remember that you’re a student first and that whatever job you take must truly take a back seat to your primary responsibilities as a student.

Keep the following guidelines in mind. First: make sure that the number of hours that you work allows you to go to class, study, and have a normal life. I’ve talked to many students who committed to too many hours and ended up falling far behind in their schoolwork. Related to this, I should add that faculty members are usually not moved by students who use a job as an excuse for not completing schoolwork. Second: consider the location of the job. You should favor a job either on or close to campus. If you get a job far off campus, you’re going to be saddled with transportation costs and the time it takes to get to and from work. Third: be sure the job is worth it, both financially and as a way to gain experience. I worked through all my years of college, and I can say that all those hours in the places I worked would have made no sense if I wasn’t paid fairly well and if I didn’t learn a lot about myself and how to deal with other people.

Please note that the comments of Dr. Golding and the others who post on this blog express their own opinion and not that of the University of Kentucky.

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