Working While Attending College

April Mitchell

English 202

Heather Powers

12 Oct. 2011

Working While Attending College: Good or Bad?

Have you ever wondered how you are going to pay for anything in life such as your college education?  In our growing economy, many people believe that you need an education in life and the further you go with your education, the higher the chances are of you getting a job after you graduate (7 Benefits of Working While in College in Addition to a Paycheck 1).  As a college student, I think about this question every day and this is only my second year of college, out of six!  It’s not like I have thousands of dollars lying around some place that I can gather up to pay for my college education! When I think of where I can get the money to pay for my college education, I think of three things which include a scholarship, a loan, and a job. I don’t believe that you have much control over scholarships and loans but a job, on the other hand, is something that you do have control of (7 Benefits of Working While in College in Addition to a Paycheck 1). A job is so great because you can apply as many times and to as many different places as you want but is having a job while attending college really an advantage?

I can think of three advantages right off the top of my head when I think of this question and the first reason that working while attending college is an advantage is because it can keep you out of debt! Money, money money! It seems to always be on everyone’s mind, including mine, and I don’t blame anyone for thinking about money all the time. You pretty much need money to do anything in today’s society. College is not cheap and I know every college student would agree with me. An advantage of working while attending college is that it could keep you out of debt. On scholarships.com’s website, they state that “the wages you earn from a job could be enough to keep you from taking out student loans for the cost of living expenses that have nothing to do with tuition, like transportation, housing, and entertainment costs that can quickly increase your student loan debt load” (Balancing Work & College 1).

The second reason why I think that working while attending college is an advantage is because it provides you with job experience. Miriam Caldwell, an about.com guide, also believes that working while college is an advantage because of the job experience that it provides you by stating that “working while attending college provides valuable job experience” (Can I Work and Go to College 1).  Competition in our society is growing more and more each day, for numerous reasons, so having job experience gives you an advantage. If you think about it, job experience that is directly related to your field will make you much more competitive once you graduate from college. Even if the job you have is not directly related to your field, it may still qualify you for a position that someone without your experience could not get because you at least have some sort of job experience.

The third reason why I think that working while attending college is an advantage is because it can improve your grades. Miriam Caldwell states that “working while attending college can improve your grades” on the website (Can I Work and Go to College 1). Many students are surprised that their grades increase when they begin working part time. “This is a result of learning to organize and plan your study time effectively. The added focus can make the difference between an A and a B” (Advantages of Going To College Part Time While Working Full Time 1).When I re-read and think of the last four sentences, I can only agree with what Miriam said. I was one of those students that believed my grades would be worse if I had a job while attending school because I wouldn’t have time, but boy was I wrong! My grades improved so much when I had a job while attending school and it was exactly because I learned to organize and plan my study time. I knew what I had to do, when I had to do it by, and how much time in school and out of school that I had to get everything that I needed to done.

There are always two sides to everything though right? With advantages must come some disadvantages right? The first disadvantage of working while attending college that I can think of is it is a distraction. The main reason most students give is that during the semester, they want to focus on classes (Disadvantages of Working While Going to School 1). Depending on your major and your professors, the homework load can be tough. For example, I called my best friend a few weeks ago on his 21st birthday and guess where he was? The library. You know you do not have time to work when you spend the night of your 21st birthday doing research.  Miriam Caldwell, the about.com guide, which was previously mentioned for stating advantages of working while attending college, also believes that this is a disadvantage of working while attending college.  She states that “many students feel that taking on a part time job will distract from their studies at school. It can seem overwhelming to take on a part time or full time job while going to school” (Can I Work and Go to College 1).  I know from my own experiences that I would personally get things related to my job done before I would get things done for school. I don’t know why but I feel like I can put off school work and that my teachers will just give me the extra time if I told them I was busy with work. You always have one or two of those overly nice teachers that just want you to pass so they “believe” your “excuses” so this is a definite disadvantage.

The second reason why I think working while attending college is a disadvantage is because of the lack of time management. Time management is said to be the number one issue when it comes to college for students (Disadvantages of Working While Going to School 1). For example, on Scholarship’s.com’s website, they state that “for many college students, it won’t be the intense new classes they’ll be taking once they set foot on campus at their intended college that will be the hardest transition to handle, but finding the time to make some money to pay for those expensive textbooks or college expenses” (Balancing Work & College 1).  How do you learn time management though? I’m only two years into my college education and I have quickly found out that whether your financial aid package included several hours of work study per week or you found an outside job to pay for those college expenses, it isn’t easy to master the art of time management when balancing work and college.  How do you know what to put first? It’s a challenge to fit in homework, time with your family, time for hobbies and the time you spend at work. As M. Reynolds states on his Hub Page, “it can be very stressful when big tests are coming up or papers are due and you have something big going on at work” (Advantages of Going To College Part Time While Working Full Time 1).

The third reason why I think working while attending college is a disadvantage is because of your schedule is challenging and different each week and/or semester which leads to stress. Each semester we select new classes, which lead us to have different schedules, each and every semester. How can you have a job when you don’t know what your schedule is going to be like? Ally Page, a senior college student, states in a blog that “she is only available after six pm four out of five week days” (Some College Students Don’t Want Part-time Jobs 1). Personally, I don’t want to work because my schedule is highly irregular. I am available at different times each day, some of those days include being available only after five on Mondays and Wednesday. I don’t want to work on the weekends for obvious reasons so I would only be working three days a week, if that, which means little hours and little money. But what if I got sick and had to skip class? This would mean that I would have to attend a different class, at a different time, but would this be possible with my work schedule? Being on the go constantly and prepared for anything just seems like too much for me, I would be so stressed! I would always be wondering if I should work around my school schedule or should I schedule my classes around my work schedule?! I would have to think about this very often with the scheduling of new classes each semester. Some students just wouldn’t want this on their hand all the time because stress creates numerous problems and I completely agree (Some College Students Don’t Want Part-time Jobs 1).

In conclusion, I do believe that working while attending college is an advantage and can be very beneficial. I was one of those people who thought working while attending college was impossible and that if I did get a job while attending college, it would make my grades worse but boy was I wrong! I’m not saying that working while attending college doesn’t take extra effort, because it does, but I know many people that can do it and do do it. If it’s possible then the possibilities are endless. However, I also believe that working while attending college can be a disadvantage because it can be a distraction and it can increase stress levels. Which do you go with when concluding this conflicting subject though? That I will never know because I’m torn between the two when I personally think of the question.

Works Cited

“Balancing Work & College.” Campus Life. Scholarships.com. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. <http://www.scholarships.com/resources/campus-life/balancing-work-and-college/&gt;.

“Can I Work and Go to College? – Five Reason to Work While Going to College.” Money in Your Twenties. About.com. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. <http://moneyfor20s.about.com/od/studentloans/tp/working_in_college.htm&gt;.

“Disadvantages of Working While Going to School!” The Byrd’s Nest. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://labyrd7nest.blogspot.com/2010/09/disadvantages-of-working-while-going-to.html&gt;.

Reynolds, M. “Advantages of Going To College Part Time While Working Full Time.” Reynolds_Writing on HubPages. Reynolds Writing. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://reynoldswriting.hubpages.com/hub/collegeparttime-whileworkingfulltime&gt;.

Wallick, S. H. “7 Benefits of Working While in College in Addition to a Paycheck.” Associated Content from Yahoo! – Associatedcontent.com. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1954314/7_benefits_of_working_while_in_college.html?cat=4&gt;.

“Why Some College Students Don’t Want Part-time Jobs – Starting Out – Helium.” Helium – Where Knowledge Rules. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://www.helium.com/knowledge/9896-why-some-college-students-dont-want-part-time-jobs&gt;.

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