Keenan: Part-time work in college will help you later in life

Joellen Keenan

Days I am scheduled to work start basically the same. I slip on my ever-so fashionable black ISU Dining polo, throw on my slightly shrunken dress pants and strut to my job while rocking the iconic black baseball hat.

It’s not the most glamorous of jobs, and I usually want to do anything but work at the dining center while I’m there. Quitting, however, isn’t an option.

If I quit my part-time job I would become full-time broke. But it’s not only about the money.

I mean, a lot of it is the money, but that isn’t what my world revolves around.

Having a job gives me something to do and a sense of productivity and responsibility in an environment where it is easy to be nonproductive.

If you’re considering getting a part-time job it’s important to think about your schedule and what you can handle. I work about 15 to 20 hours a week, but it hasn’t been as overwhelming as my parents and I originally thought it might be.

Different people can handle different workloads, but even 10 hours a week can be beneficial. Returning from work with extra money and feeling accomplished is more fulfilling than seeing how many episodes you can binge watch on Netflix.

Your sense of pride shouldn’t overshadow what’s really important when it comes to jobs in college. Pride should come from the recognition future employers will have of the hard work you put in during college.

Having a part-time job will allow you to get valuable experience working in a professional atmosphere. Finding a job after college can be tough, and having that extra experience under your belt can really help give you that extra something you might need to land your dream job.

It helps if you’re actually doing something that will benefit you in the future, but even a random job on your résumé is better than nothing.

Past jobs really helped bulk up my résumé into something that might actually impress a potential employer. I’ve spent almost my entire “professional career” working at local breakfast establishments. Serving coffee to the elderly at Village Inn has nothing to do with my future career aspirations, but I learned a lot of great work ethic and started getting a sense of how many hours of work it takes to earn enough money to survive. 

And the pros of part-time work exceed the money and experience because it can be fun. You get to meet and work with all different types of people from all over the place, especially at a big university like ours.

But this is just one girl’s experience, and that may not be enough to convince you of the benefits of the college-working life, so I’ll leave it to the experts.

Working can actually improve your school performance, as long as it is done in reasonable doses. Besides the obvious financial need that some students have to work 20-plus hours a week, even working half of that can build your character and shape you into a better student and adult.

Balancing a job and school can mold your time-management skills and dedication to what’s important into something to be desired. Multiple studies and comparisons have shown that students who worked about 10 hours a week received higher GPAs. Working makes you a more responsible individual.

Not to sound like a parent, but it’s good for you.