The same questions race through my mind as I stand scanning groceries for six hours, every Saturday and Sunday.
“What am I doing here?”
“Why have I not quit yet?”
“I work 2:30pm – 8:30pm tomorrow night, if I want to sleep in, how much time do I have to get my assignments done?”
“What’s the produce code for turnips again?”
Deciding whether to have a part-time (or full time) job during your university years is probably one of the most heavily contemplated decisions you will encounter.
After working at my local neighbourhood grocery store through my first year at university and continuing now into my second year, I have discovered that the pros of having a job definitely outweigh the cons.
If you’re like me, currently balancing school work and scanning groceries, or if you’re just in the beginning stages of your job decision process, it won’t take long before you realize that working a part-time job in university truly is beneficial:
Income Can Help Pay for Your Tuition
With the average Canadian student owing $26,819 in educational debt, being mindful of your socializing habits is not the only way to help ease your financial situation. Finding employment is also part of the solution! As of October 1st, 2016, minimum wage in Ontario is $11.40. A job can provide you with a steady and consistent source of income that you can put towards paying your tuition. Every little bit of financial contribution you can make, will help in lowering the burden of your debt!
Provide You with Extra Cash
Okay, so let’s say you aren’t the “average” student and you are blessed to be debt-free (whether through scholarships and bursaries, parental assistance etc.), who doesn’t want some extra cash in their pocket? High school is over and gone are the days of asking Mom and Dad to give you money to go to the movies and out for dinner. What better way to embrace your new-found role of adulthood than using your own hard earned income to do the things you enjoy? You can splurge on a social,guilt-free night out because having a job promises you a steady flow of cash with every shift!
Builds Your Resume
Employers are not solely focused on searching for recent graduates with high GPAs. Do you know what they are looking for? They are looking for something that is equally important and equally achievable: EXPERIENCE. Part-time jobs can provide you with experience in money management, customer service, and basic communication skills. Let’s not forget that communication and writing rank #1 and #2 in the top 10 skills employers look for in new hires! The experience of having a job and credible references on your resume can open up path ways to bigger and better career opportunities in your future.
Learn Responsibility and Independence
With money, comes responsibility and independence. Your job can detach you from using your parents as a source of financial support and increase your independence! Typically, teens are careless with money that’s not their own, but once your income is being deposited directly into your account, you’ll begin to learn how to budget and control your unnecessary spending!
What about the cons? Well…what about them?
Maintaining an active academic life while tending to your grocery store, retail, or food industry job may seem overwhelming, but it is important to utilize your time management skills.
Don’t let the time before and after your shifts go to waste! Use that extra time to complete homework and assignments! Here’s a tip: you can get A LOT of readings done during a 30 minute lunch break at work…Trust me, I know.
Also, I suggest speaking to your employer about flexibility and if they are willing to accommodate for student employees.
Personally, when I was hired in the summer before first year, I explained to my soon-to-be manager that I would be entering university that upcoming September. We were able to arrange a work schedule that suited my availability – she required a minimum of two shifts a week, any days that worked best for me.
$11.40 x 6 hours x 2 shifts a week… you do the math! The income is not bad for a part-time job where I can scan groceries two days a week, build my experience and still keep on top of my course load.
Do you have a job during university? If not, how come? Leave me a comment and we can chat!
And remember, there is life beyond the textbooks too,