Should Students Do a Part-Time Job While They Are Still Studying?

Planning on having a Part-Time Job while in university? Check out the Pros and Cons to see how you can juggle a job while studying.
Should Students Have a Part Time Job While Studying

The movement of students taking on part-time jobs while tracking their studies has been on the rise in the last few decades. This sensation is not limited to any particular country but is an international trend seen in educational institutions around the world

Although the decision to work part-time while studying is a personal one, it has generated much debate and discussion among educators, parents, and students themselves. The most important question is whether it will affect student’s studies or not; for the most part, people are undecided, and it depends on the individual. 

In this guide, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of having a part-time job while studying. 

We will also delve into various aspects of students working—including time management, financial independence, skill development, and its potential impact on academic performance.

Should Students Do a Part-Time Job While They Are Still Studying?

student working on her bed

There are many pros and cons to working part-time if you’re a student. However, for the most part, it largely depends on the individual and their goals. 

First, let’s look at the advantages of working while you’re a student:

The Advantages of Working Part-Time While a Student

1. Financial Independence

One of the most apparent advantages of juggling part-time employment with academic commitments is the opportunity to attain financial autonomy. This additional income source can effectively cover tuition fees, accommodation costs, and daily expenses, lightening the financial load that often accompanies higher education.

There are many costs when you’re a student, including housing, stationary, and food and drink. Although some countries offer student loans to help ride these costs out, that’s not always the case. 

Therefore, the financial independence of working a part-time job can be immensely beneficial for most students. 

2. Holistic Skill Enrichment

Part-time positions offer a unique avenue for holistic skill enrichment that extends beyond the classroom. 

You can immerse yourself in practical scenarios that foster the development of crucial abilities—such as interpersonal communication, problem-solving, time management, and adaptability. 

3. Networking Horizons

Engaging in part-time work opens doors to an expansive network of individuals and industries. The networking prospects can be a major game-changer, potentially leading to future job opportunities or internships.

You may cultivate connections that serve as a valuable resource, offering guidance, job referrals, and valuable industry insights—especially if they experience internships for major companies. 

4. Effective Time Governance

Effectively managing both work and academics creates exceptional time management skills. Students who master this balancing act often excel at prioritizing tasks and meeting deadlines. 

This acumen is in high demand in the professional arena and can considerably facilitate the transition to post-graduation employment. However, it’s essential for you to convey this during interviews. 

5. Resume Enhancement

The inclusion of part-time work experience on a resume serves as a potent tool for boosting one’s profile when seeking full-time employment post-graduation. 

Here’s the truth: Employers highly regard candidates who have demonstrated their capacity to handle multiple responsibilities and maintain employment while pursuing higher education. 

Part-time work can be a unique selling point in competitive job markets, especially if your role has strong responsibilities (such as lifeguarding). 

6. Financial Literacy

Proficiency in managing personal finances is a vital life skill, and part-time employment provides the platform to cultivate financial literacy. Students learn to budget their earnings, forecast expenditures, and make informed financial choices. 

These abilities are not only beneficial during college but also invaluable in navigating personal finances throughout life. If you show evidence to employers that you have strong financial literacy, this can help you in many careers. 

7. Enhanced Confidence

Balancing part-time work with your academic responsibilities can boost your self-confidence. As you successfully manage both areas of your life, you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment and self-assuredness. 

This newfound confidence can extend beyond your college years, helping you navigate future career challenges and opportunities with resilience.

8. Real-World Application

Part-time employment often provides real-world application of the knowledge and skills you acquire in the classroom. It bridges the gap between theory and practice, allowing you to see how your academic studies relate to the professional world. 

This practical experience can deepen your understanding of your field and enhance your problem-solving abilities.

The Disadvantages of Working Part-Time While a Student

student tired of working

1. Academic Diversion

The biggest problem with working while studying? The potential for diversion from your educational pursuits. 

The requirement to navigate work responsibilities alongside coursework can occasionally lead to a shift in focus—resulting in diminished time dedicated to academic endeavors and subsequently lower academic performance. 

As such, this can cause many issues, including poor grades and wasted student fees. Let’s face it: This is the last thing you want after paying expensive student fees, 

2. Time Constraints

Time is a finite resource, and successfully managing a part-time job can create substantial time constraints. You may grapple with the challenge of adhering to assignment deadlines, attending lectures, or engaging in extracurricular activities due to the demands of your work commitments. 

These time limitations can trigger heightened stress levels and compromise the college experience. Again, if you’re paying good money to go to college, do you really want to compromise your time studying? 

3. Fatigue and Burnout

Stress, stress, stress… is there anything worse? Maintaining a precarious equilibrium between work and studies can contribute to fatigue and eventual burnout. 

The demanding schedule may leave students feeling physically and mentally exhausted, impacting their overall well-being. Persistent fatigue can obstruct academic performance and erode the overall quality of life during the college years. Worse still, it can cause illnesses

4. Social Disconnection

Engaging socially with peers and actively participating in campus activities is an integral facet of the college experience; in fact, many students would avoid going to college if it weren’t for the immense 

However, part-time work can at times restrict your capacity to socialize and foster relationships. Missing out on these interactions can result in long-term consequences for personal growth and the potential to establish valuable networks.

5. Deterioration of Skill Development

While part-time work offers practical experiences, it may inadvertently limit the development of specialized skills relevant to your field of study. 

If you have aspirations for academic excellence and specialization, you may find that the responsibilities associated with your jobs hinder your ability to engage deeply with your coursework and research. 

As a result, this can make studying a waste of time, especially if you’re not learning due to work commitments.

What are the Best Student Jobs?

If you’re a student who’s looking to find an excellent part-time job for university, you won’t always find a highly-skilled job that can benefit your future. However, you may find jobs with solid transferable skills and decent pay. 

Here are some of the top part-time jobs for students:

1. Campus Jobs 

Campus jobs offer a convenient and flexible option for students. These roles can include working at the library, campus coffee shop, or student center. 

Campus employers usually know the importance of academics and provide flexible schedules that accommodate class times and study sessions. In addition, these roles often foster a sense of community and connection with fellow students, enabling you to enjoy your student years more. 

To find a job at a university campus, you should inquire at your university career center. However, you should apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment; these roles are often super competitive. 

2. Research Assistant

Becoming a research assistant is an immaculate opportunity if you’re pursuing degrees in fields like science, social sciences, or humanities. 

It allows you to gain valuable research experience while earning an income. Research assistants often work closely with professors, thus contributing to ongoing research projects and enhancing their academic resumes. It can be an incredibly powerful job while studying. 

If you’d like to become a research assistant, you’ll often have to approach professors and research departments in your academic discipline. These roles aren’t as conventional as many other student part-time jobs and may require more work to find. 

3. Freelance Work

Freelancing or taking on gig work in areas such as graphic design, writing, web development, or digital marketing provides you with flexibility and the opportunity to develop valuable skills. Freelance work has become much more popular since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These jobs can often be done remotely, allowing you to create your schedule and work from anywhere in the world. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr are perfect for starting freelance work. 

4. Retail or Customer Service:

Working in retail or customer service roles—such as sales associate or barista—can develop essential interpersonal and communication skills. 

These jobs often offer part-time positions with flexible hours, making them suitable for students. Additionally, they provide the opportunity to interact with a diverse range of people.

Students can explore local job listings, apply to retail chains, or inquire about openings at nearby stores, cafes, or restaurants. Customer service roles may also offer tips, which can supplement income.

5. Internships

While internships may not always offer immediate financial compensation, they provide invaluable hands-on experience in a student’s chosen field. These opportunities can lead to future employment and help students build a professional network.

University career centers often assist students in finding internships—and students can also research organizations related to their field of study and inquire about internship openings.

However, internships, especially with major companies, aren’t always super easy to find. 

How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance While Studying

As we’ve established in this article, it’s not always easy to keep a solid work-life balance when you’re at college or university. Therefore, you need to follow some key tips to stay on track. 

Here are some you must follow:

1. Prioritize Time Management

Remember, effective time management is the cornerstone of balancing academics and personal life. Therefore, you should create a weekly schedule that allocates dedicated time for classes, studying, and personal activities. 

Ensure you stick to this schedule to establish a routine that optimizes your productivity and leisure time. By working on your time management skills, you’ll be in a better place to enter the job market after graduating. 

2. Set Realistic Goals

Goals are important, right? You should establish clear academic goals and set realistic expectations for yourself. Avoid overloading your course load, especially during challenging semesters. 

Remember, setting achievable goals reduces stress and permits you to focus on quality learning rather than quantity.

3. Plan Leisure and Self-Care

You must allocate time for relaxation, exercise, and self-care activities. Therefore, ensuring you take regular breaks and leisure time is essential for your mental and physical well-being. 

Prioritize activities that rejuvenate you, such as hobbies, exercise, or spending time with loved ones. Try to participate in activities that make you relaxed, such as meditation, yoga, or cold-water therapy. 

4. Learn to Say No

While it’s tempting to join multiple clubs, organizations, and social events—be selective in your commitments; overcommitting can lead to burnout. 

You must learn to say no when your schedule becomes overwhelming, and prioritize quality over quantity in your extracurricular involvements.

5. Avoid Procrastination

Let’s be honest, we’ve all procrastinated at some point, huh? But here’s the problem: Procrastination can lead to stress and last-minute cramming. 

You should break down assignments into smaller, manageable tasks, and tackle them gradually. Avoiding procrastination ensures a smoother academic journey; it’ll also make you feel less stressed. 

6. Seek University Resources

You should always take advantage of university resources designed to support students’ well-being. 

For instance, these may include counseling services, academic advisors, and tutoring programs. Remember, seeking help when needed can alleviate stress and provide valuable guidance. A college or university often has a counselor who can help with many common issues.

Final Thoughts

Studying can be an incredibly challenging time for many students; it can lead to financial issues and mental burnout. However, the choice of whether to take on part-time work is entirely up to you. The advantages and disadvantages of having a part-time job while studying are extensive either way. 

If you follow the tips in this article, working a part-time job may be an excellent choice during your studies. With that said, you should also weigh up the benefits thoroughly and make a choice from there. 

Photo by Pema Lama from Unsplash