Paying for college or university can be daunting, and many students turn to full-time or part-time jobs to make ends meet. Others work while studying to gain experience in their fields or simply add to their resumes. There are many reasons why students work while studying at university, but one thing is for certain – juggling working and studying is no easy feat. It involves a lot of planning, organisation, and time management.
One 2021 report shows that 66% of the UK students surveyed had part-time jobs. If this seems like a high number, note that this has actually decreased because of the pandemic. Previously, 74% of those surveyed claimed to be working part-time. Some even have full-time or multiple part-time jobs.
If you haven’t made the big decision and wonder which path is the right way forward, use this article to guide you. We will discuss the pros and cons of working while studying at university and whether it’s possible to hold down a job while pursuing your education.
Pros of Working While Studying
In addition to helping them supplement their income, working part-time while pursuing an education can help students gain work experience and learn more about responsibility. Here are some of the advantages you can gain by working while studying at university.
Earning an Income
The most obvious advantage of working is earning an income. Whether you work a few hours a week or have a more intensive job, you have a steady income to supplement financial aid, scholarships, or parental help. While some may use their hard-earned money to help with rent or living expenses, others can save money, travel, or avail of other services.
Gain Important Work Skills
In addition to experience, working while studying allows students to gain essential skills that will be useful once they enter the labour market. Some of these skills include balancing different responsibilities, following directions, and working with others. These skills are valued by future employers.
Time Management Skills
Another vital skill that working students master is time management. No matter which industry you go into, time management is an essential soft skill that will help you throughout your career. Because studying while working forces students to prioritise both and juggle different responsibilities, it teaches them how to manage their time effectively. By planning ahead and being organised, these students learn one of the most important skills out there.
Expanding Your Network
One of the most important reasons students choose to work while studying at university is to expand their network. While it’s important to expand your social network, it’s also important to branch out professionally. Working students have the opportunity to do this and can start making connections and take advantage of networking opportunities at their jobs. Whether it’s co-workers, guests, or managers, expanding your network is an integral part of availing of new opportunities.
Earn More in the Future
In addition to gaining skills, those who work while studying may also earn more in the future. A Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center paper showed that students who earned the most when attending school also reaped the rewards later. According to the study, this was because of their skill acquisition, signalling (from work experience), and the social networks they built from acquiring references and making connections.
Valuable Work Experience
Even if they don’t need to work while studying, many choose to because of the valuable work experience they gain. Many students have limited work experience and have to wait until their final year to take advantage of work placements, if available. Students who work while studying can build up their resumes and gain real-life experience.
This is especially important if they can gain experience in the field they’re interested in since they can apply academic knowledge to real-world circumstances. This practical application will be valuable in future jobs as well. That being said, work experience is valuable even if it’s not related to the student’s field. No matter the job, they’ll still have real-life experience and benefit from the transferable skills accompanying it.
Cons of Working While Studying
Working while studying has many advantages. However, there are some cons associated with it. In order to make an informed decision, you should be aware of the downsides of being a working student.
Less Time for Studies
Because you’ll be devoting some of your time to your job, you’ll have less time to study. This can be especially tough for students with higher workloads or demanding degrees, who are sometimes already stretched thin. If you don’t devote enough time to your studies, your grades may suffer.
Less Recreational Activities
Because you’ll have to devote the time you have left to your studies, this will affect your social and personal life as well. The time you would have otherwise spent free will now be spent either working or studying. Because of this, you may not be able to enjoy your hobbies, spend as much time with your friends, or be able to participate in extracurricular activities or student clubs.
The Pros and Cons of Working While Studying
Stress and Burnout
If there’s already too much on your plate, and you add working while studying on top of it, you may end up overly stressed. Chronic stress is extremely serious and can lead to burnout. University can already be a very stressful experience, and adding further stress can harm your mental health. If you do reach a critical point, you may not be able to work or study effectively and may even have to quit your job.
So, given all you’ve read, should you work while studying at university? While there are many advantages and opportunities associated with working while studying, there are some cons to it as well. If you’re able to be organized and find a balance between education and work, working while studying may be a fantastic idea. On the other hand, if you can’t juggle two major responsibilities and your education will suffer due to working, it’s better to focus on your studies.
Ultimately, whether or not you work while studying is an individual choice that must be made with all these factors in mind. We hope this article helped you in your decision.
Published by AHZ Associates