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Forget if You’re Overworked, Underpaid: The Perks of a Part-Time Job

College: Arguably the four most critical years of developing into who you are. You learn a lot of things in college, like how to balance equations, how to properly use MLA format, or how to write press releases. 

Depending on your major, your expertise varies upon commencement, but what doesn’t vary from major to major is the valuable life lessons picked up in those four years. 

Although it may seem like a burden at times and maybe not worth the money, having a part-time job while attending college can be beneficial in multiple ways for personal development. 

In a study conducted by Seventeen Magazine and Citigroup, nearly four out of every five college students works an average of 19 hours per week. Many students are taking advantage of the real world experience and life lessons gained in real working environments before even graduating. 

One of the most obvious  benefits from working a part-time job is the money earned. There will always be a satisfaction in making one’s own money and spending it however they feel. 

Thomas Aiello, a senior accounting student and waiter at The Mill at Spring Lake, said, “It all comes down to financial stability, to be able to go out and have a good time. I know so many friends who always are worried about spending money, having a job leaves my life free of financial stress.”

Although no part-time job will afford anyone an enormous amount of money, the little extra cash leaves room for more activities and prepares you for how to deal with having your own money. Making money and using it for expenses incurred during college teaches important budgeting skills that can’t really be learned in a classroom. 

With a job you know when you will get paid and how you have to make one paycheck last to the next, while saving part of it, buying food with another, and making sure there is still a little extra. Budgeting is a skill not taught in a class, and being able to take that lesson out of college is invaluable. 

Throughout college, students are told to fear and worry about this mysterious place called the “real world,” but if you are working a part time job you are arguably already submersed into it. 

Nancy Gallo, a job placement coordinator in Career Services, said that working a part-time job not only gives you experience in a real working environment but also gives you the opportunity to network with professionals.

Whether they are managers, industry professionals or other coworkers, a part-time job allows you to explore what a work environment is like, holds you accountable for completing tasks assigned to you and contributing to a business. 

Rachel Fox, a senior elementary education major with an endorsement in special education, said, “Networking is one of the greatest things I achieve from my part time job. Working in the education department here at MU, I am constantly meeting professionals who I can use as contacts someday.”

Even if you are working at a part-time job outside of your field of study, developing a good relationship with professionals is a major benefit. The more references you have when applying for jobs in your field of study, the better, especially coming from people who know the value of the work you contribute to a business.  

Time management is another benefit to working and attending classes. By limiting your free time with a job, students learn when to say no to some events and when to say yes to others—a valuable life skill that will benefit them for years to come.

Lydia Valloreo, a freshman accounting student, said, “My hosting job really helps me to keep a schedule with school, homework and work.” 

Gallo added, “A part-time job is also an excellent addition to your resume and can possibly lead to a full time position.” We all know college cannot last forever, come graduation you will need to be looking for a full time job, what better way to open those doors than to start working part-time somewhere now. 

“If the part-time job is in your field of study, it can also help determine if it is the right career choice for you.” Gallo continued.

Working during school may seem like a drag, but it does provide value. So before you decide to check between your couches for spare change again, consider all the advantages that a part-time job might add to your college experience.