Should students work while studying?

Posted August 28, 2014 by
Job or education directions on a metal signpost

Job or education directions on a metal signpost. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Should a student get a job and work whilst studying? Here are a few arguments for and a few against. The issue isn’t really a cut and dry, black and white one. For example, a student taking programming courses should certainly get a job if he or she can manage his or her schedule so that no sleep is lost (it is difficult to program when tired). On the other hand, a student taking a medical or veterinary course should definitely not get a job because there is scarcely enough time to get the studying done and fit in some sleep.

Don’t get a job because you have to work for the rest of your life

This is a big sticking point for most. It may be better to be poor and penniless as a student rather than work a job because people have to work most of their lives. Full-time education is one of the few times you get a break from working before you hit retirement age, and many people in college right now will never reach that age. It is really not fair that a student should have to throw away 16 hours per week of work when he or she will be working 40+ hours per week for the rest of his or her life very soon.

Do get a job because you may have nothing better to do

Most qualifications are going to allow students some free time when they are in college/University, and there are many people that are experts at wasting time. Frankly, if the students are going to watch TV or get high, then they may as well be working so they do not have to borrow as much money or keep pestering their parents.

Don’t get a job if you cannot get to bed on time

The biggest killer to your grades, your studies and your chances of passing your courses come from sleep deprivation. Not getting enough sleep is going to make studying harder and more of a slog. It will make concepts more difficult to understand and will lead to a faster burnout. The students will also find their studies less fun and the daily grind will begin to become too much.

Do get a job to teach you about life

The experience you gain from your part-time job is not going to get you a real job in your chosen qualified field, though if you are working part-time in that field then it will help a little. Do not get a job because it will give you experience you can put on your resume because nobody cares about your part time experience during college, but getting a job may teach you about life. It may teach you that bosses can be idiots, that co-workers can be jerks and that you can work a demeaning and boring job and still get paid less than the amount it costs to eat a meal in London (it is pretty darn expensive there).

Do not get a job if you already have a history of turning work in late

You know if you are the type of person that leaves an essay to the last day. If this sort of person is you then you need to take control of your life and fix your discipline problems before you go working a job. If you get a job then your discipline trouble will get worse. You will leave your work until the last day and then be too tired to get on with your work. If you are not good at organizing and doing your studies, then getting a job will make it 100 times worse.

Do get a job because you get to have money

Money is fun. Sure, you have to work in a horrible job for 16 hours, but the money at the end of the month is fun. Just make sure you do not work more than 16 hours per week. If you are working more than 16 hours then you are negatively affecting your studies. Even 16 hours per week can make you tired, irritable and more likely to burnout, so be careful.

Do not get a job because it is not worth the money

This is the other side of the previous argument in that money is fun, but working 64 hours per month for the small wage you get is not worth it. The amount you earn is often gone within a week and the things you buy are stuff you could have lived without.  It is not as if you are working a job you love, you are working a job that is boring and most likely demeaning. You are supposed to be studying so you do not have to put up with this sort of job, so why subject yourself to it whilst in college?

About Author:

Cory Jones is a writer from He is a major in English and has been helping students for a long time.

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