November 17, 2023 by

Working during college may sound daunting, overwhelming, and maybe boring. The purpose of attending college is to get a higher education, and you devote most of your time and energy toward your studies. Why work during college at all? Well, having an on-campus job would be very beneficial for you, because it teaches you several lessons about being an adult learning how to live life on your own before you enter the “real world.” Not only that, but there are a couple perks to having an on-campus job vs. an off-campus job.  

Lesson #1: Good Work Ethic 

I got my first job when I was in high school, but I’m still learning a lot about the kinds of ethics and moral principles I should keep for every job I have. Perhaps your parents have talked about practices they follow for their jobs. The Lord calls us to honor our parents, so it’s important to heed their advice. However, there’s an old saying that says “experience is the best teacher.” While I have heard others say you should get a good work ethic before you get a job, you can still learn a good work ethic while having a job.  

Lesson #2: Responsibility 

Responsibility is crucial for a job and other aspects of life. I’ve worked at McDonald’s in my home state for about four years, and every shift I work, there’s at least one person who doesn’t show up. The top reason for their absence is that they don’t feel like coming in. There will be days when you don’t want to go to work, but you have a responsibility to follow through with your commitment. If you don’t show up, your co-workers will pay the price for it. In a day and age where everything’s self-centered and it’s all about making ourselves happy and doing whatever we want to do, we must be image-bearers of Christ and follow through on things we said we would do, which includes showing up to your job for your selected shifts on time.  

Lesson #3: Time Management 

The ability to manage your time is a valuable skill you’ll need to learn before you get a career in the “real world.” Between classes, chapel, a job, homework, extracurriculars, and maintaining a social life, you have a lot going on, and you only have so much time to accomplish it all. It’s about finding balance. Your time with God and your academics should both be top priority, but it’s crucial to learn how to steward your time between all your commitments and activities well. Once you’ve made your class schedule, look for time gaps of a couple hours or so where you could work.  

Lesson #4: Advocating for Yourself 

Dr. Paul Dixon, former president of Cedarville University, used to say this about what students should expect during their 1000 Days™: “College can be either the last years of childhood or the first years of adulthood, and at Cedarville we expect the latter.” Part of being a college student and an adult in general is advocating for yourself. There may be certain situations where your parents do need to step in for you, such as finances, but otherwise, you have to be your own advocate. You have to decide what your priorities are, your needs and wants, and what’s in your best interest. Your employers will work with you in any situation in which you advocate for yourself and keep your best interests in mind to the best of their ability. However, how can they help you in such a situation if you don’t speak up for yourself? Advocating for yourself is something that you’ll have to do both during and after college.  

Bonus: You Don’t Need Transportation 

For my freshman and sophomore years, I didn’t have a car, so working anywhere not within walking distance wasn’t an option. Finding someone to take you to work off campus can be a hassle. Plus, a lot of employers on campus, especially the various food venues, are always in need of student workers. Instead of jumping in your car and driving 20 minutes to work and 20 minutes back on top of working a 4-hour shift, you can just walk to work after class. You save both time and gas money. Gas is expensive, so why drive to work when you have the option to work on campus?  

Many college students choose not to work during college for various reasons. They don’t need to work because their parents are paying for their education, or they got a full-ride scholarship, or some other reason. Some simply can’t with their heavy course load, which is OK. But if you are able to work during college, I’d highly recommend applying for a job. You will learn and grow so much, and whatever job experience you gain will look great on a resume. If you don’t know what job to apply for, check out the Student Employment Resources webpage, but I’d personally recommend Chick-fil-A. You can even tell them I recommended the job to you! 

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