There are many reasons why students work during college. For some students, it’s a necessity because they have to be able to pay for their education, while others choose to work to have some extra spending money. Regardless of someone’s reasoning to work, it is important to balance time spent working and the responsibilities of being a student.
As a student, I personally have felt the pressure to work and have an income to afford my own education. However, I didn’t start my first year already having a job. I decided that for me personally, I wanted to wait till a few months into my first semester before looking for a job. This allowed me to have time to establish friends and also join an organization or two. Around October, once my college schedule started to solidify, I began to look for a job in Springfield.
The first thing to decide when looking for a job is where the student wants to work. There are many options on and off campus, and your student needs to decide which option is better for them personally. As a current senior, I work two on-campus positions and also one off-campus, and there are pros and cons of both. On campus positions generally work around a student’s schedule, doesn’t require transportation, and allows students to have university holidays off from work. Another benefit to on-campus positions is the ability for students to work in their field of study if they so choose. However, on-campus positions are very sought after. On-campus positions are updated weekly on jobs.missouristate.edu. If your student is interested in having an on-campus position, encourage them to check the listing weekly and to also talk with their friends that have on-campus positions. I was hired at the Welcome Center on campus through talking with a friend who connected me with their boss. If students can work on campus, I highly suggest it.
There are also benefits to working off campus. Some students worked jobs before coming to college, and it may be convenient to continue to do the same job, just at a different location. I was a server throughout high school, and I was comfortable with my abilities to serve, so my first job in college was a serving position. Some positions off campus may have a higher pay then some on campus positions, however, they may also require students to work over campus breaks. This may not be ideal for all students. I also had to be very intentional about when I was willing to work and how much. Off-campus jobs maybe not be as accommodating as on-campus positions.
Once a student has found a job, it is important for them to balance their time working with their academic and social time. I can relate to students needing to provide for themselves, but college is a great time to soak up all the opportunities available to them. One of the best resources for students to afford college is through scholarships. Most of my financial aid has come from Missouri State’s departmental scholarships. This is an all-inclusive application that students can fill out that will automatically submit their application to any scholarship they qualify for. Applications opened November 1, 2019 and are due March 1, 2020. This application can be accessed through the student’s MyMissouriState account by clicking the MSU Annual Scholarship Application link in the My Financial Aid section on the Student tab.
My advice for these scholarships is for students to take time to fill out the application and to save their answers to reference for future years. I also suggest that students begin the application whenever convenient, but to not submit it till closer to the deadline. This allows them to update their involvement and experiences on campus because a lot can happen between November and March for students.
In general, working in college can be intimidating for a student also needing to balance a college curriculum. It is important that students put their school work first and are upfront about their needs as a student when being hired. Financial aid is a great resource for students to lighten the burden of needing to work during college.
(Stephanie Bube, a senior Secondary Mathematics Education major and member of the Honors College, is a University Ambassador, a Student Orientation Advisement and Registration (SOAR) Orientation former leader and member of the Leadership Team and currently a 2019-2020 Orientation Assistant, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, Beta Sigma and Phi Eta Sigma Honors Fraternity.)