The Great Debate: to Work or Not to Work

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Should you work part-time while you’re in college?

During my freshman year at UW-Stevens Point I did not work at all. Now, in my sophomore year here, I work three jobs: UWSP blogger, server at Point Bowl and freshman volleyball coach at Stevens Point Area Senior High. While this may seem like a drastic jump, which it was, there are many benefits of working part-time in college.

The following pros and cons lists will provide you with some insight to help make your decision – job or no job – a little easier.

Pros of Working Part-Time in College

1. Money: Obviously the biggest perk of working anywhere is the extra money that you are making. During college you may worry or stress about money, since a college degree is one of the biggest investments you will ever make or have made so far. Having a part-time job may help you feel better about your financial situation.

2. Experience: Depending on the job, you could be gaining necessary or helpful experience for your future career. There are many opportunities on and off campus for almost all students in all fields of study to gain experience. These kinds of part-time jobs will help “beef up” your resume! If you are interested in a job that is related to your academic field, then you should talk to your academic advisor. Applying for jobs while in college also allows you to edit and perfect your resume, and practice interviewing skills.

In addition to blogging for UWSP and serving at Point Bowl, Val works part-time as a freshman volleyball coach at Stevens Point Area High School.

3. Time management: Having a part-time job as a student will make you much more efficient at scheduling and managing your time effectively. This is a valuable skill that you will need in your future long after graduation.

4. Fun: Turns out, you might actually enjoy some of the work you do! Speaking from experience, if you find the right job(s) you may find they don’t feel so much like work anymore. Part-time positions can also become a fun and enjoyable way to spend your time.

5. Meet people on campus and in the community: Having a job will allow you to meet people from UWSP and its surrounding community, who you probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. This can help you make new friends and form professional connections, who may serve as future job references later on.

Cons of Working Part-Time in College

1. Time: You will have to give up some of your personal time if you take on a job while attending college. This can cause some students stress because their schedules will be busier. A full day of classes, work and other commitments leaves less room for completing coursework and for personal time – both are important.

2. Stress: This can be caused because of limited time. To avoid feeling stressed, it’s best to stay organized by using a schedule or calendar app on your phone and planning ahead when possible.

3. Work: Having a job requires you to actually, yes, work. As much as we would all like to get paid for lying in bed or watching Netflix, we can’t. So know when you accept a part-time position that you have to be willing to commit to actually doing the work required of you and demonstrate some effort.

4. Transportation: Just a reminder, also from my own experience: if you have an off-campus job, you will need to coordinate getting to and from the job. This is not such a big deal if you have a car. But if you do not have a vehicle, you may have to rethink the job or figure out an alternate way of transportation. Consider taking Stevens Point’s city bus (free with your UWSP student ID), walking, biking or riding a moped to work.

5. You might not like your job: Even though you applied and got the job thinking that you may enjoy it, there’s the possibility you may not. It’s something you’ll have to put up with or quit, but that is the reality of jobs. Try your best to view any position as a learning opportunity, whether you enjoy it or not.

As a college student, it is worth your time to think about taking on a part-time job, and there are a lot of pros and cons. Ultimately, however, it will be up to how you think you could handle a job and if, in your case, the pros will outweigh the cons. For me, they did. I love all of my jobs, and I hope you can also find a part-time position you enjoy – if you wish to work.

For more information on student employment on campus at UWSP, visit the Student Involvement and Employment Office (SIEO). 


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