As a freshman, it’s very common to hear, “Don’t work during your first year in college.” College can be a big transition for a lot of students, so it’s very important that you give yourself adequate time to adjust to this new environment. College can also be very expensive and this new period of new financial independence can often overwhelm students. As a result, you might consider picking up a job. This article will help you determine whether you need a job as a student, what to look for in a job as a student, and where to find a job as a student.
Do I need a job?
It may sound like a dumb question at first, but there are a lot of factors that might influence whether you decide to pursue employment opportunities. It’s very common to see your scholarships decrease after your freshman year or to find out that some of your scholarships aren’t renewable. Additionally, some scholarships have minimum GPA requirements and if you are unable to meet these standards, you might find yourself struggling to afford college. If you were anticipating a certain amount of money to get you through college, and you suddenly find out that this money will no longer be available to you, then it might be in your best interest to start looking for a job.
Now that we’ve discussed reasons you might want to start looking for a job as a student, here are some reasons as to why you might want to focus on other things instead. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have sufficient scholarships/ savings, family who are paying for your education, or even a summer job that will provide enough money to get you through that year. This might be a reason to wait a little on getting a job and instead focusing your efforts on school. That being said, a critical part of this will be your self-discipline and spending habits. Making a budget and strictly following your plan will help you get through the year without regular income.
If you do decide that getting a job is something you can manage, time management will be incredibly important. Being a student keeps you busy enough so it’s imperative that you set your priorities straight. It’s not easy to maintain good grades, be involved on campus, work part time, and spend time with friends; however, it’s certainly attainable to balance all these activities if you develop the necessary time management skills.
What to look for?
As a student, things will suddenly happen in your life and it’s important that you have a schedule that works with this. Maybe that organization you’re a part of is going on a trip or it seems like all your professors plotted together to schedule all four of your exams the same week. Whatever the situation may be, finding a job that will be flexible with your hectic schedule is important. On campus jobs do an excellent job at being flexible with student workers and might be a good choice for you if you need an employer who is understanding of your hectic schedule.
Most jobs in college will typically pay minimum wage when you first start and that is what should be expected when you first start working. However, if you possess a special skill set or unique background that qualifies you to receive a better pay grade, you may be in luck. Specialized jobs of this nature typically pay better and will provide you with better experience if it’s in an industry you hope to work in.
Lastly, it’s important to search for a job that is in line with your career aspirations. Fortunately, colleges often have many careers opportunities with departments or professors for your specific major. Jobs that are in line with your career aspirations also help provide valuable experience that could give you an edge against other applicants when you look for an internship or full-time job after college.
Where to look?
If you are looking for a job as a student, you should check out the K-State Career Center. Their website can be found at: https://www.k-state.edu/onestop/finances/jobs/. There you can find an online database called Handshake with job openings tailored to you both on and off campus. There are also several careers fairs hosted by the career center, specific colleges, and other campus organizations throughout the year. These events are an awesome opportunity to learn more about a job and get face to face contact with recruiters, so be on the lookout for when these events are happening!
If you’re interested in determining how much income you’ll need, want to cut down on spending, or have any other questions about your financial situation, be sure to make an appointment with us at: http://www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/.
Hopefully after reading this you now feel more prepared to begin searching for jobs that will help you meet your financial goals. Happy job hunting!
Peer Counselor I