By Berenice Zubiate, EAW Student Digital Reporter
As I am entering my last year of college as an undergrad, there is one thing I wish college students to be aware of – the popular, yet sometimes frightening topic of “employment.” Specifically, part-time jobs.
There is approximately 40% of college students in the nation that work a part-time job. What does this mean? Well, not only do students have to commit to attending classes and finish their school work, they also have to work an average of 16-30 hours a week (depending on the job). Now, don’t let this scare you, part-time jobs, in my experience, have been known to be a great learning experience on how to work with teams and how a company works.
When I started applying for jobs, I didn’t know what to expect or what I should look for in a job. All the knowledge I knew is that I wanted something that would give me a paycheck. Now, it is never an easy journey, some days you will like your job, other days you might not want to clock in; and that’s okay!
Here are some lessons I want to share about what I learned about working a part-time job as a student:
Be prepared for travel time and location. There is nothing worse than running late for your job, now imagine being 15 minutes late to a job that is 30 minutes away. Doesn’t sound very fun right? That’s because you either hit snooze way too many times, or you live far from where you work. Having a job that is 15 minutes away or less is a game changer! If you live near your school try searching for on-campus jobs. There is almost always a job opening near a college town. Do some research and find out which locations are most convenient for you.
Never skip class to go to work. This might sound like common sense but it’s been known for college students to be scheduled to work during one of their lectures; therefore missing important class information in hopes to not lose their job. This is not okay! When applying for a job make it known that you are a student and provide them with your school schedule. This will give your employer the notice that if you end class at 2:00 p.m., they probably shouldn’t schedule you at 2:00 p.m. Instead suggest 2:30 p.m., which will give you time to get to your job.
A job can actually be fun. It is important for students to realize that a work environment doesn’t always have to be boring. Try and get to know the people that you work with. Usually if you work somewhere near campus, chances are you might be working with someone that goes to the same school. I remember when I worked at a dessert shop I was friends with a coworker for about a semester until I realized we were in the same major and even had a lecture together! Take the time to know your coworkers and work might not be so dreadful after all.
No job is more important than your mental health. I cannot stress this point enough. There have been endless studies on college students that undergo a variety of stress and workload that the student might have anxiety, depression, etc. This means that it is okay to give yourself a mental health day and reset. I remember a week before midterm presentations I had to request the day off because I had a lot on my plate. I felt like I was going to explode! Instead I decided not to overwork myself and ate some comfort food. It was super refreshing to be able to eat a good meal and not have to worry about anything for a couple of hours. Take a nap, go on a hike, hang out with a trusted friend, do something that will remind you that everything will work out eventually!
I hope these tips will become some basic guidelines when you prepare to work at a new part-time job!