Throughout my entire college enrollment, I have often been gazed at in amazement for my busy schedule. Working full-time and taking a full-time load of college classes is no joke, and many people recognize that. Many students don’t work at all because of the cumbersome load that having both school and a job can create. Full-time work and school is definitely a heavy burden, but it instills a deep satisfaction and high sense of accomplishment, not to mention the boost it can give you upon graduation.
College is not cheap. Tuition and fees have climbed higher and higher over the years, and the yearly cost for college education can be staggering. Loans and interest slowly add up, and before you know it, you’re thousands of dollars in debt. Why choose to not work and allow your debt to grow? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college students who are also full-time workers graduate with a significantly lower debt than their unemployed counterparts. If you were to ask any student if they wished to lower their debt before graduation, their answer would be yes every time. In my experience, paying for small school fees like books and parking permits out of pocket can save over a thousand dollars per year.
One of the larger benefits of full-time employment and college enrollment are the skills acquired when juggling between the two. Time management skills become extremely important. If you can’t perfectly and wisely manage your time, then you will never succeed. Work, homework and studying: these are all factors that come into play in the life of a full-time worker and student. Not only are these excellent skills to have while working and going to school, but they are also a huge asset upon graduation.
Imagine being an employer interviewing two college graduates. Both applicants graduated at the same time with the same GPA. One applicant worked full-time throughout their schooling, while the other instead focused solely on school with no job. The full-time worker will likely have the upperhand over the unemployed graduate. Employers realize the skills that are received upon working, and someone with work experience is always more preferable over someone with none.
Learning to work on a team, communicate with the public and being able to problem solve independently will always give you the best chance of succeeding with a job interview. A resume always looks more impressive with real world experience and it can set you apart from other graduates. It shows your drive, determination and work ethic – which are traits always desired by possible employers.
Not only is working full-time beneficial for experience and financially, but it could also help with job networking. Those who work interact with many different people daily, which helps you learn appropriate people skills. Someone you meet at work could possibly be the ticket to getting your foot in the door of your dream job. Having professional contacts is always a positive thing, and it could present an opportunity you wouldn’t have been able to receive otherwise.
The biggest fulfillment, in my opinion, of working full-time and going to school full-time is the sense of accomplishment received at the end of every semester. I believe every student, whether working or not, feels a sense of pride upon completion of classes. Yet someone who struggled and worked hard with a job on the side feels something a little different than a student with nothing to worry about other than school. Pride and confidence grows, and it steels determination to stick it out and finish school, no matter how stressful the struggle may be.
So to my fellow students working full-time with a full college load, my hat’s off to you! You have my deepest respect and I am rooting for you until graduation. Don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done, because it can, and it will. Yes, it’s stressful, and yes, sometimes it seems impossible, but you are proving that there is strength in a determined student, and it will pay off in the end.