Working while studying seems like a total drag. After attending classes for over eight hours a day, the last thing you want to do is commit yourself to a four-hour shift, but there are many benefits of working a part-time job as a student. From making some extra money on the side to gaining valuable work experience, here's why you should consider taking on part-time work.
1. You Earn Extra Pocket Money: What better reason is there to get a part-time job than earning some extra cash?
Being a student usually means little or no money, but when you're working part time, you no longer have to worry about being able to afford the basic essentials - or relying on your parents or student funding to get by. You can start affording little luxuries like going out with friends and treating yourself to something nice. You can even set your paycheque aside and put it towards your tuition fees.
2. You Learn to Manage Your Money: When you start making money of your own, you tend to become more cautious about how you spend your hard-earned cash.
Not only can early employment help you build up long-term savings, but it also makes you financially aware from a young age, meaning you'll have better budgeting and money management skills when you're older, avoiding heaps of debt in the process!
3. You Gain Transferable Skills: A part-time job can help you gain skills that a university or college degree won't teach you.
Indeed, by working in a fast-paced environment, for example, you will learn how to work as part of a team or on your own, as well as how to use your initiative and develop a considerable attention to detail - all valuable skills that can be carried across different jobs and in all aspects of life!
4. You Become More Confident: If you're shy and introverted, a part-time job can help you come out of your shell and aid in growing your confidence.
And as most student jobs are found in hospitality and retail, which are both mainly customer-facing industries, you'll be forced to interact with lots of people that you wouldn't normally talk to. As a result, you'll learn to be more comfortable around others.
5. You Develop Interpersonal Skills: As well as confidence, student employment provides you with an opportunity to learn how to interact with different personalities - an essential skill in all types of jobs.
Through part-time work, you will learn how to talk to a variety of people from different walks of life, forcing you to be sensitive to cultural differences in the workplace. You will also learn the best ways to communicate with your colleagues, forcing you to think about how your words can affect other people's actions and vice versa.
6. You Gain Independence: Whether you're a high school or a university student, working part time can help you gain independence.
Indeed, you will be responsible for your own schedule, money and duties. As a result, you will be less reliant on those around you, and you will learn how to fend for yourself. This newfound independence will also help build your character, which will be beneficial to you both while studying and in your career.
7. You Learn to Manage Your Time Wisely: Going to classes, working a part-time job, socialising with friends and making time for your hobbies make for a busy schedule, but juggling so many different tasks can help you improve your time management skills. Indeed, you will generally become more organised and efficient with your time, planning ahead to ensure you can fit everything into the limited time you have. If school work becomes overwhelming, meanwhile, ask your manager to reduce your hours so you can fit everything in. (That's another benefit of part-time jobs: they tend to be pretty flexible!)
8. You Get Access to Discounts and Perks: Naturally, you will try to find a job at one of your favourite stores, restaurants or brands, and if you're lucky enough to bag one of these jobs, you will get access to discounts and all kinds of other perks. In other words, you not only get paid to work at one of your favourite places, but you also get to save money on purchases!
However, be careful not to go overboard and spend your entire salary in your workplace! (Talking from experience here!)
9. You Build Your Professional Network: No matter where you're working, a part-time job gives you the chance to network with other people. So, even if you're not gaining work experience in a field that you want to pursue, you are still making connections in the professional world.
For example, you might meet a client who's working for your dream company, or your employer may know somebody who works there. You never know who knows who, so treat every conversation as a chance to progress in your career, and always keep the door open for further discussions.
10. You Make New Friends: Whether you've moved across town or to an entirely new country for your studies, getting a part-time job can enhance your social life. Indeed, every work environment brings you the opportunity to make lifetime friends.
You'll naturally bond with some colleagues and will end up spending time with them outside of the workplace. But don't focus solely on making friends - don't forget that you were hired to do a job, not socialize at work!
11. You Gain Work Experience: Gaining any work experience adds credibility to your CV, which can help you stand out as a viable candidate when you're applying for an internship, apprenticeship or a graduate job.
Employers generally prefer to hire applicants with some form of work experience, as they already have an understanding of workplace ethics and company culture. Work experience also shows that you're a hard worker and that you're good at multitasking as you found the time to work and study simultaneously.
12. You Stay Healthy: When we don't have a set routine, we often fall into a lazy rut and lose the motivation to get up and going in the morning. Working a part-time job, though, helps you stay active and, as a result, healthy.
It's also good for your mental psyche. Writing for the Daily Mail, Naomi Coleman describes the act of bonding with colleagues as 'social grooming', which releases natural feel-good hormones such as endorphins and serotonin and keeps depression at bay.
Working while studying has its advantages, but if you feel that the cons outweigh the pros, then you should consider discussing your hours with your manager or looking for an alternative part-time job. Once you find the right balance, you'll reap the benefits of working as a student for years to come.
The writer is a freelancer
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