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Balancing Work & Play: How to Be a Full-Time Student with a Part-Time Job


Today’s post is by campus correspondent Juliana Zipay, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh. Find out how you can become a campus correspondent, too!

Part-time job while being a full-time student: social suicide? Or a great way to make extra cash for all those college necessities?

Some students come to college having never worked a day in their lives, whereas others come from an intense background of part-time work throughout high school.

I always knew that I would want a part-time job in college if only because (1) I worked a part-time job all through high school and (2) I knew I would love the extra money to go out with my friends and enjoy college in every way possible.

But having a job while being a full-time student definitely raises some questions that must be answered:

Should I work on-campus or off-campus?

Depending on your campus, off-campus employment may not even be a possibility. Many universities are large but offer little in life outside of the campus, though this is not true of every campus. I go to a school with a vast urban campus — in fact, many people claim we do not even have a campus because it is so integrated into the city (though I disagree entirely).

But a sprawling urban campus means a variety of stores and restaurants and, therefore, tons of places for employment. On the flip side, on-campus employment is available everywhere throughout universities. Libraries, computer labs, departmental offices, student life offices and food services are all full of student workers being paid by the university.

Many schools offer online employment directories that point to available job positions and their rates of pay.

What about homework?

Homework is the one part that will obviously get in the way of having a job and being a student at the same time. Homework takes place outside of class, and if you have a job you may be pressed for time to do it if you must be serving meals to hungry customers all night.

Personally, this is why I enjoy on-campus work positions. If you are working on-campus, your supervisors will understand if you must call off to meet with your group for a project, but an off-campus employer may be less agreeable. Additionally, on-campus employment often offers the opportunity to do homework WHILE at work.

In fact, as I write this I am at my work-study position on campus. Campus jobs are usually less demanding, so there is a greater chance of you being able to actually get paid to do your homework, in essence. But if you think you can hack an off-campus job and being a full-time student then, by all means, go for it! I have a lot of friends who fall under that category, and they aren’t falling behind in classes or socially.

What are the advantages of having a part-time job while in school?

Well, for one, money. A lot of parents, like mine, might pay for school but want you to find your own way to finance your social life. A job does just that. For another — and this might just be me talking — but I do a lot better when I actually have less free time.

Having a job, going to school full-time, having an internship, and other responsibilities equals less downtime for me to just lie on my couch and watch movies all day. I can budget my time more efficiently so as to make the most of the time I have and actually create more free time in the long run.

Lastly, a job can help you toward your career post-graduation, even if the job has nothing to do with your degree or planned career path. A future employer may be quite impressed to see that you had a part-time job while going to school full-time on your résumé—it shows time management and responsibility.

Obviously, whether you have a job while going to school is up to you, but there are just so many advantages to them that it seems silly to not have one. They allow you to be more responsible, earn money, become time efficient, and can boost your social and networking skills greatly. I’ve met some of my best friends through my on-campus job, and I wouldn’t even want to think about life without them.

Juliana Zipay is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh who will be graduating in May 2011 with a BA in Communication and minors in Theatre Arts and Film Studies as well as a certificate in Children’s Literature. She plans to attend graduate school to work toward a Master of Library and Information Sciences degree. Her interests include, but are definitely not limited to, social networking, coffee, traveling, learning, and sleeping (whenever she can).



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