With the bills piling up and the bank account running low, the average college student may feel like financial disaster is inevitable. There comes a time when studying and partying are simply not enough to survive on, and the idea of a part-time job becomes more of a necessity than a choice. Even if money is not a problem yet, a few hours of actual paid labor per week could be a positive experience for any college kid. The biggest concern for most students when taking on a new job is the matter of time. College already demands a great deal of time in itself. Between the commitments of schoolwork and social activities, the average schedule could look rather intimidating to the under motivated or lazy student. The idea of adding a few extra hours of actual paid work may seem absolutely impossible, but with a little extra organization anything can be done. Sometimes students tend to overlook those many hours that are spent watching television or uselessly typing on the computer.
Having a part-time job can turn that ill-spent time into some solid cash. Maintaining a job can turn the most unorganized student into a highly efficient and meticulous adult. By sticking to a tighter schedule, procrastination becomes a thing of the past. Someone who is forced to live by a more rigorous schedule has to allocate time rather wisely and, in the process, may find themselves accomplishing far more then ever before.
Unfortunately, not every employer recognizes that school is the number one priority in a studentʼs life. If objections are never raised about the amount of time being spent at a job, the employer will sometimes become increasingly demanding with the level of commitment he or she expects on a weekly basis. A good measure of whether a job is taking up too much time is to ask, “Is this job causing my schoolwork to suffer? Is this job infringing on the amount of time needed to be spent studying or completing assignments?”
If the answer to these questions is a resounding yes, then it may be wise to consider talking to oneʼs current employer or switching jobs. As senior communication studies major Jen Wolf states, “The positive of having a job is that you have extra money, but the negative is that you do not have the time to spend it.”
Money is a definite motivator for finding and maintaining a part-time job. In order to make the rent and utilities each month or to simply have a little extra cash to spend on meals, clothes, or books, a steady income serves as a real incentive to add a few hours of work to the average week. Jobs such as waitressing or bartending can bring in over $100 in one night, which is impressive for any studentʼs budget. The average way that jobs work though is on an hourly pay scale.
Depending on the type of job and the amount of effort and skill required, students can still make a decent paycheck every week. As long as that money is managed well, it is even possible to build a decent bank account during these college years. There are plenty of social benefits to the job market as well. Since many jobs require employees to communicate with customers, this is a great opportunity to meet new and interesting people.
By assisting someone in a purchase or suggesting a good meal, the theory of reciprocity may go into effect, and in the future that customer will feel obligated to return the favor. Even if that does not happen though, a job is a perfect way to increase oneʼs social circle, since most other employees in this area tend to be college students as wel as junior Heidi Miller states, “I have limited opportunities to meet people during the day since I live so far off campus, but when I go to work, I get to interact with a lot of other college students. Itʼs a great chance to talk to and get to know people that I never would have met in the classroom.
Unfortunately not every interaction in the job market is positive. It is possible that the people one meets while at work will become more of a burden than a benefit. If someone starts to move into the realm of annoyance or harassment, it is necessary to take action. Try to solve the conflict, and if necessary, tell a supervisor about the fellow employee or customer who is causing the trouble. Most employers and managers will be more than willing to assist an employee in solving an on-the-job conflict.
So, if the opportunity for more money, better time management, and increased social contacts sounds like a good idea, it may be time to start looking for that perfect part-time job. Try to decide if there is a special area of interest that could be explored first such as retail, food service, or childcare. If there is no particular type of job that seems particularly appealing, take a stroll through the mall or a drive around town, and look at which businesses are hiring. Another good place to find prospective employers is in the local or university newspapers.
The Quad has a “Help Wanted” section each week, and it is possible to find several opportunities that are specifically aimed at college students. If that does not work, try flipping through The Daily Local or the West Chester Voice. Both of these publications have sections for those who are interested infinding employment. The Daily Local even has an online “Help Wanted” site that has an enormous list of possible jobopportunities.
Another option is to work on-campus. Sykes Student Union is currently looking for students for several positions throughout that facility. Possible job positions include union associate, student director, or fitness monitor. Some examples of the places of employment for union associates are at the information desk, the front desk of the fitness center, or the copy shop. Student directors typically have jobs that require more management or technical skills; thus, these positions require more experience and time. Most fitness monitors tend to be health, fitness, or nutrition majors. If these positionsdo not seem quite right, food services or the library may be better places to inquire about possible positions.
If working on campus sounds like a promising idea, get started with the application process. If Sykes is the preferred place for employment, pick up an application at the front desk. After it is completed, turn it back in and hopefully an interview will follow. Many students are very pleased with the experience of working on-campus since it is much more convenient than having to walk or drive far distances to get to a job. Senior union associate Katharine Flaherty had this to say: “Its nice because the university is really flexible with scheduling. They understand that school comes first. You get a chance to meet lots of other students while earning some extra cash.”
The job market has many positive and negative factors, but with every experience comes new knowledge. If one job does not work out, do not give up. There are so many opportunities in West Chester, so get out there and look around. Once a job is secured, have fun watching the money roll in and the bank account grow. Or at least have a good time spending that hard-earned cash on something that makes that extra effort truly worth it.