The concept of being a student at the university was never associated with part-time jobs, gigs or anything of the sort, at least not to me. I knew of it as just another level of education where you woke up every morning, attended lecturers, handed in assignments and did exams. You know, your basic school program but I guess I was in for a surprise.
You may think that with so much time on their hands, all college students do is text each other and hangout thus the last thing you’d imagine them doing would them working. After all many are only students pursuing their undergraduate degree and therefore have no business getting jobs.
Nonetheless most university students have taken on jobs some full time others part-time.
At first I never really understood why one would give up the comfort of being just a student and go off in to a hustle initially meant for university graduates. I figured it was tough and only people with a good enough reason would do so. That was my humble opinion at least; but I wanted to understand why some people would choose to work if they weren’t being forced to.
On asking a number of individuals, they were able to highlight a few perks that almost had me question my initial decision.
1. The experience and connections
Ever wonder why most job applications require you to include any form of experience you’ve acquired? Well, that’s because your classmate with two years working experience is seasoned and you don’t stand a chance against him even with the same qualifications.
The other important thing to note is that in any work environment you’re bound to meet a few individuals that matter. By that I mean those guys whose names open doors. The impact of having the right connections when shaping your career goes undisputed.
2. Paid to learn
As much as many would render this practice quite distracting I’d like to think there is more to school than just course work. If anything university is the place where one learns about how the real world operates. What better way to do that than to master the ‘system’ while there is still very little at stake?
Something else I found mind-boggling was how these guys’ systems seemed to work.
I mean think about it, this guy has probably been earning some little money since he started working while in school this means that he has mastered how to spread out his little income in the right way, a skill that will take you a year to learn (if you’re a fast learner) and by then you’ll have wasted most of your first year salary. When it comes to the money, it doesn’t have to be a lot and whether you invest it or save it or even use it up is entirely up to you.
As if that’s not enough, some of these guys end up starting businesses and generating more money than you’ll ever make in your entire working career.
As much as it seems all green on the other side, it comes at a cost. For starters, with that kind of life there is few hopes of having a vibrant social life- the stuff which comprises most college experiences. Chances of missing lectures even when you don’t intend to are higher than ever.
Basically it all comes down to prioritizing and time management. I am still a big believer of the ‘first things first’ notion but I in no way underestimate the impact of working while in school.
The author is a student at University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology.