College Jobs Can Earn You Much More Than Money to Pay for College!

by Elizabeth Kain
(Littleton, CO)

College Jobs Can Earn You Much More Than Money to Pay for College!

As a penny-pinching, pay-my-own-way college student, my college career was peppered with a variety of jobs. Some were on campus, some were off; some were during the school year while others were during summer and holiday breaks. All had their advantages and disadvantages and all helped me achieve my dream of graduating from college. Yet the best college job I had, the one that stands out from all the others, was as a food prep assistant at the University of Colorado's Student Center cafeteria.

My salary, though far from extravagant, provided more bricks for the foundation I was building for my future. But this job entailed so many other advantages beyond the wages. I lived on campus but had no meal plan, so the free meal I was allowed each shift I worked was, in my frugal eyes, a huge benefit, as were the additional snacks I was allowed on occasion. Another few bucks saved, every shift!

Since I lived on campus, the commute to this job was a short five-minute walk, saving me both time and driving expenses. That meant even more money I could save for college. Luckily, as with most campus employers, the cafeteria supervisor was very flexible about working around my class schedule. And although the work itself was not the most stimulating, I crossed paths with many wonderful people I never would have met otherwise.

My favorite was Aurora, a plump, grandmotherly, Mexican lady who knew her way around a kitchen, by golly. I worked with her each shift. Aurora understood just enough English to do her job, and spoke it (heavily accented) even less: "Carrot." "Knife." "Cut." "Like this." She and I struck up a friendship. I learned more about Mexican culture and she even had me over to stay at her home. Plus, I had ample opportunity to practice my Spanish skills as we sliced and diced vegetables together.

The benefits of holding a job during college—any job— go far beyond the paychecks earned. In addition to learning new skills that make them more marketable in the future, a job forces busy students to prioritize, to hone their time management skills, to become more efficient in general. And as with every new experience, working college students learn more about themselves, their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and aptitudes and potentials, at a critical juncture in their lives when such information is best likely to serve them—just as they are deciding on a major and what career path they want to take. The need to juggle classes, homework, job, social life, extra-curricular activities as well as physical and spiritual needs encourages working students to learn to listen to themselves, set healthy boundaries and develop life balance skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. In addition, the maturity and work ethic this process fosters really shows—and greatly appeals to most future employers.

The jobs I held throughout my college years (many of which were in the food service industry) added up dollar by dollar to provide enough wages and free food to make it through college with almost no financial help. Each job added to my qualifications and made it easier to get subsequent jobs that continued to pay my college bills. Financial circumstances forced me to hold many jobs while attending college; but my lack of financial abundance was more than compensated for by the abundant blessings I received from my various jobs. In effect, my college jobs gave me a priceless education—and I got paid for it to boot!

Thanks Elizabeth for sharing such wisdom. I still think fondly of some of my college jobs that helped me pay for college. Best wishes to you.

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Types of Student Jobs

by Daniel Okuniewicz
(Newton, New Hampshire, USA)

Whether you need the extra spending money or you're just trying to add to your savings, having a job as a student is an excellent way to do it. I will discuss types of jobs as well as some things to keep in mind.

First there are regular part-time jobs. If you live in a well-known college area, many employers in the area will understand that you are a student and will accommodate you with a non-conflicting schedule. The major thing to worry about when getting a job off campus during the school year is conflicts that may arise due to school work.

Second there are on-campus jobs. The types of this kind of job will vary depending on your university, but some possibilities are tour guides, receptionists, and school store clerks. University jobs tend to pay pretty well, but you won't get many hours out of them due to, well, being in school.

Third there are Teacher's Assistant positions. While this is an on-campus job, it deserves its own category because it's a little different. Being a TA pays well and has the added benefit of being in a subject area that you probably enjoy.

Finally, the job that will give the most bang for your buck is probably going to be an internship or co-op program. These programs allow you to work in a professional setting to gain experience in the field you're studying for. So on top of getting money, you are actually making an investment into future opportunities—if you do your job well enough at an internship, you may have a job secured after graduation. Not only that, but internships and co-ops look really good on a resume because they show that not only do you have work experience, but you have work experience in the field that you're studying for.

Thanks Daniel for sharing your ideas on Types of Student Jobs. An internship is a great option for the benefits you explain. Good luck to you.

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Paying It Foward

by Brittany Gall
(Jerome, MI, United States)

It can be said that work and play are hardly ever mixed, yet in college that can be quite the opposite. Sure working can be glum, you might lose your weekends and some of your free time, however, by putting in the time now, you free up your more adult years. There are varying viewpoints on this on this topic, working while in school.

Arguments say that it pulls you away from your education, it distracts you from your college experience, and it is said that working while in school will not pay off. On the contrary I must say! Statistics show that students have a job on campus while enrolled have an 82% higher graduation rate than those who are not involved at all.

What it comes down to is interaction with other students. If a student sits back and lets classmates form groups, seeking help from each other, sharing notes and so on, and said student chooses not engage, they lose vital learning opportunities. With working, you are put into the hub of this activity. Students have to visit campus stores at some point during the semester for any given thing, which means, if you see someone in your class, you have the chance to as for help. Not only are you getting paid but you are assuring yourself a great grade in the class. Not to mention, you could pick up a second job once you master the material and become a tutor. Jobs are out there as long as students look for them.

If you declared your major, ask your professors if they know any place hiring, who knows maybe you will get a summer internship with them because you were the only one who asked! A job is just as important as your grades, paying back your loans and being debt free when you leave college does not have to be science fiction. With hard work, time management, and a positive outlook, you will be a happy adult with experience and knowledge from your younger years, to propel you to an equally satisfying life.

Thanks Brittany for sharing the value of a student job on campus. Interesting statistic about the graduation rate, and it makes sense. Another great reason to get a student job on campus. Good luck to you.

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Student Jobs During College

by Madison Rayner
(Graham, WA, USA)

Expenses in college can add up surprisingly fast and before you even realize it you may be strapped for cash. You can only expect your parents to provide so much for you before you need to start providing for yourself. A part time job is a good way to off-set costs while ensuring there’s enough time left over for your academics and extra-curricular activities. The best place to start a job search is right on campus. The great thing about on-campus jobs is that there is usually an employment office on campus that can assist you in finding a job. There are almost always tons of on-campus job opportunities, and as a student, you will automatically be given first hiring priority. Plus, on-campus jobs eliminate commuting time, and they allow students to connect with academic and professional resources at their university. You may even stumble upon a job that you have never thought about before.

An on campus job to consider looking into is working in the campus bookstore. Campus bookstores sell everything from books for classes to college-themed clothing and school supplies to basic household supplies. A job working in the campus bookstore can be the perfect part-time opportunity. Not only does it come with the convenience of being on campus, but you may even get really useful employee discounts or opportunities to participate in on campus activities. Or if you are an upperclassman, perhaps you may be able to work as a teaching assistant for a large freshman class. Teaching assistants assist the professors with less formal responsibilities like handing out assignments or proctoring tests. This type of job is fairly simple and may also allow you some free time while you work to get that extra bit of homework done.

Of course, there are opportunities for part time work off-campus, too. For instance if you love coffee, you might consider a job as a barista at a local coffee stand. You'll learn a lot about coffee and espresso, and probably be treated to free coffee now and then which can save you a ton of money if you need that daily coffee fix. Another popular off campus part time job would be working in a restaurant. There are often lots of shift to choose from and extra hours that you can pick up to work when you have more free time. Let’s not forget to mention the discounted or maybe even free food!

Either way, any part-time job will likely offer you flexible hours that work around your class schedule, an opportunity to interact and meet with new people and if you are lucky you may even score some type of discount or benefit. However, the most important thing that part-time jobs offer is a paycheck that you can put towards your college expenses. This will decrease the amount of money you have to take out in student loans, which in turn lowers your post-college debt. Working a job and contributing money towards your college education will really give you a sense of ownership in your college experience and personal satisfaction that you are helping to pay for it. So invest in yourself and spend a little time looking to find the right kind of part time job for you. It will save you time and money all while you earn your higher education.

Thanks Madison for sharing your ideas about Student Jobs During College. These are all good options for part-time jobs during college. Best of luck to you.

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