Does working while going to school enhance or distract from your studies? There’s quite a bit of evidence that holding a job actually improves your academic outcome.
Here are the top 5 reasons for students to get a job:
Build your resume.
Remember your first job application where you had to write down previous work experience and references? If you don’t have any, that can be stressful! The sooner you start building a record of experience and a list of references who can vouch for your reliability and your willingness and ability to learn, the easier it becomes to find the next great job.
Discover what to do next.
Most of us don’t have a clear idea at age 16 or 18 what we want to pursue next, whether as a career or a degree program. And yet that’s the question that always comes up at the Thanksgiving table, right? “What are your plans for the future?” Work experience related to your field of study is one of the best ways to find out whether you really like it and want to pursue it, or whether you don’t and need to change course—before you put a lot of time and money on the line.
Help with time management.
Have you ever heard the helpful story about the “Jar of Life”? It goes like this: a person tries to put sand, pebbles, and rocks in a jar. If they do the sand and pebbles first—the “little stuff”—it turns out the rocks—the “big stuff”—don’ fit. That’s what most people find out about balancing work and school. If you learn to treat your work schedule, your class schedule, your study time and your self-care like “rocks”, you’ll probably discover that the rest of your life will organize itself just fine around your priorities. Above all, you’ll learn good time management, and probably even improve your use of leisure time!
Help pay the bills and manage student debt.
Work experience comes with a paycheck. that in and of itself will reduce your stress load. Having the means to pay your bills and keep student debt in line helps reduce one of the major distractions for students.
Real-world experience of work and financial responsibility.
School is great for teaching theory, but there’s nothing like a job related to your field of study to learn the nuances of working with actual people and actual problems with actual deadlines. The same goes for bills: if you’ve never had to earn the money to pay for rent and groceries and other basics of life (not to mention fun stuff!), reality can hit pretty hard. Work experience helps smooths the way to adulthood and a career.