By Kelly Mayes, University of Georgia
College can be a balancing act of so many things that it may not seem worth it to have a job. But working might actually be a benefit as long as students make sure to balance their time between working and their studies, said one soon-to-be graduating student at the University of Georgia.
“I think having a job, especially in school, is like training wheels for real life because in real life you’ll have other stuff going on and you’ll still have to be managing your money,” said India Hodo, a fourth-year Entertainment and Media Studies major. “It’s kind of like an introduction to the real world.”
Student experience compared with studies and speculation of financial advisors shows that having a part-time job in college can allow for not only great money management skills but financial confidence down the road as well.
Hodo, a student employee in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, said the job has been a necessary part of supporting herself through college and has given her practice with budgeting. She said even though working has been necessary for her, she still would have chosen to work for extra money and gaining experience.
Hodo said that since her job is through the university she has gained valuable experience toward her career and is able to schedule her hours around classes and homework. This allows her to manage her time between class and work making sure she is still focused on school.
Michael Thomas, a professor in the College of Family and Consumer Science at UGA, said having a part-time job in college can be extremely beneficial for students to not only gain experience managing money but managing time and building confidence for when they enter the workforce.
“There are definitely some benefits to being employed as a student and learning financial skills that actually can improve financial well-being,” Thomas said, adding that “one of the biggest things is that students gain confidence and a sense of self-efficacy.”
Thomas said it is important for students not work too many hours and be sure to invest time in school so they have the skills they need to make more money later on in life, and that while making money is good, it is important for students to invest in themselves.
Thomas is not the only one to caution students against overbooking their lives. A study done in 2014by researchers at Winona State Universityshowed that students who have a job in college often perform better academically when they work less than 11 hours a week. The study reported this amount of time allowed for more structure in students’ schedules without causing taking too much time away from their studies.
Thomas said that in addition to gaining experience, students tend to gain financial confidence from working and earning money. This means that they have the power to manage their money rather than have money control what they do in their life.
Kelly Mayes is a journalism major in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.