Youths working while in school or college seems like a tradition in many countries, especially the US, and the trend is growing – a recent study conducted by Citigroup has found that 80% of students have at least a part time job during their study years. This is happening because of the need to support themselves financially and can have important consequences on their personal and academic lives, as well as future careers. This paper aims to take a closer look at the main reasons and, particularly, the effects of employment while attending school or college.
Why do students look for employment? The main cause is financial burdens, which are even more persistent since the 2008 recession. Education costs are high, and college tuitions have grown considerably during the last few years, as many states have cut government funding for higher education since the economic downturn. Furthermore, parents also contribute less toward covering the education costs of their children, which means students must earn their own money while studying.
Having a job during your school or college years affects personal life, first of all. Employed students have considerably less free time and, as a result, they often need to neglect their family, they can’t be around their friends as often as they would want, they lack sleep, they are more stressed, and they may even develop health problems because of fatigue.
Furthermore, student employment also impacts academic performance. The US National Research Council has conducted research showing that students working more than 20 hours a week have considerably lower grades than those who work less or not at all, fact confirmed by numerous other studies. Moreover, 40% of students who work full time report that the job limits their class choices and schedule, 30% of them state that it reduces the number of classes they can take, and 26%say it reduces their access to the library. However, there is a benefit as well. It seems that students who are employed tend to be more engaged in academic activities than those who do not work, probably because they have developed a higher sense of responsibility.
Student employment has an effect on future careers as well. First of all, fresh graduates who already have work experience gained during their study years have better chances of success when pursuing a job. Employers usually prefer to hire a graduate with workplace experience, because it means that the candidate is able to multitask, stay organized and manage time well, plus the company will not need to spend too much time and resources to train the new employee. Furthermore, studies show that working learners are more likely to move into a managerial position soon after graduating.
Finally, students who work while studying develop a better appreciation of the career path they want to pursue. As they try different jobs during their school years, they learn what they like and dislike and what type of work field would be best fit for them, and they are far less confused than fresh graduates who have never worked.
To sum up, because of financial difficulties, many youths look for employment while attending school or college, and this can have significant effects on their lives, both positive and negative. If a proper balance between education, work and personal time is maintained, employed students can gain noteworthy advantages in terms of career path after they graduate, while minimizing the downsides involved in getting a job while studying.