I worked throughout my college career. My brother has chosen not to. There will be readers that will share stories about working 40 hours a week during college. There will also be readers that come from a really intense college program that will talk about their 40 hours per week course load. Instead of trying to give you a final answer (I hate people that do that!), I wanted to share the pros and cons of working during college:

Pros of working in college:

Pay down debt.

As mentioned last week, oneĀ  of the most effective strategies for killing off student loans is to begin paying them down while you’re still a student. I technically never had any debt because I always paid my way through school as I went along. There were a few times where I was late on my payments, but I never had to take out any kind of a loan. This is the greatest benefit to working in college. It will suck. You’ll drink more caffeine than water. You’ll feel like there’s no end in sight. Then one day you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. It will all be over. You’ll have your college degree and your finances will be in check. Trust me.

Build solid habits.

The owner of this blog, managed to work full time while pursuing his MBA. That’s pretty impressive if you asked me. However, I’m willing to bet that he built his solid work habits in his early 20s. I personally find that this is the best time to create a productive lifestyle, that will follow you into your career and whatever comes after that (I’m guessing family?).

Create time management skills.

The last few weeks it seems as if I have no time for anything. Yet when I was in college I had time to attend all of my courses and still work full time. Why is that? Because I was forced to pickup time management skills. Now that schools out for the summer I’ve started to slack a little bit. I’m not proud of it but I definitely feel that the fall semester will force me to reunite with my good ol’ time management skills.

Cons of working in college:

Dilutes focus.

I don’t want to come off as arrogant. I do realize that many college programs are so rigorous that you can barely get 6 hours of sleep nightly, let alone hold any sort of part-time job. This is where working in college becomes totally pointless. The money that you earn will be offset by your diminishing academic performance.

It’s difficult to study for finals when your shift ends at 11pm. I know this because I’ve been there. There’s been many times where I felt that I thought I could have performed better academically if my focus wasn’t so diluted.

Energy drain.

This one really depends on your job. Some college jobs (bartending, manual labor, etc.) can be very physically demanding. After a long shift at work the last thing you’re going to want to do is study for that World Trade Economics exam the next morning. What will happen? Who knows. You might drink a Red Bull and pull an all nighter– or you might just crash and not get enough studying in. Neither options sounds very enticing. This is where working in college will start to wear you down slowly.

Less networking/socializing.

Yes I realize that socializing in college usually refers to playing drinking games with your buddies. However, is this such a bad thing? Think of all the dudes you can meet playing beer pong that’ll be able to help you out in the future. Think of all of the cute girls in the gym that might be working for that top company that you want to get into. Think of all those professors who need help on research projects, I’m sure they can write you a decent reference letter one day in the future. Working in college becomes a major issue when you always work and miss out on life. There are many networking opportunities available to you in college. Take advantage of them.

You might get a hot date– or you might get a nice reference letter one day in the future.

On which side of the fence do you fall on? Did you work during college? Did you choose to focus solely on your studies?

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