Working as a college student can be more hurtful than it is helpful

Almost every college student knows this to be true; that just about everyone you know, including yourself, is being stretched too thin.

If you’re a student who also happens to hold a job (or two, or three), then you may find that your responsibilities have exacerbated your already ever-increasing load of work.

According to Mental Health America, about 50% of full-time college students have jobs outside of school. This number skyrockets to 80% for part-time college students.

If you identify as a part of the 50% of students who don’t have a job outside of school, it is likely that you’ve been a target of a plethora of negative assumptions.

However, the stereotype that depicts unemployed students as simply “lazy” could not be further from the truth.

I have spent my last two years at Long Beach State as a full-time student without a job. I am fortunate enough to be financially supported by my family, but I would still like to have extra money to cover day-to-day expenses.

Applying for jobs as a full-time college student has proven itself to be a difficult feat.

Although I have a pretty extensive resume, my biggest obstacle when searching for a part-time job has been my school schedule. Employers will often tell me that they cannot offer me a job if I am in school virtually every day of the week.

This leaves me with two options. I could continue to focus solely on my academics, which also includes writing for the newspaper and working on an internship, or I could make myself more available to pick up a part-time job by cramming together my school schedule.

The reality is though, that the latter would add an overwhelming pressure to my already stressful workload. Sacrificing the time that I use to focus on school for a part-time job would ultimately result in me not being able to keep up with school.

And if I can’t keep up with school, then I could lose my scholarship. This dilemma creates a putrid dichotomy that hurts me regardless of my choice.

Remaining unemployed may just be the lesser of two evils, at least in my opinion.

With a statewide minimum wage of $15 per hour and a federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, employers don’t give much of an incentive for students to get a job on top of being in school.

In todays reality, a starting salary of $15 per hour is barely enough to cover a young adult’s living expenses, let alone every other aspect of a student’s lifestyle. Students may not want to sacrifice the little time that they already have in exchange for a low salary.

For undergraduate students with little opportunities to grow an extensive resume, it can be hard to find a job that pays well and is ultimately worth balancing with school. For students who live at home, rather than in the dorms or off-campus, it might just not be worth it to get a job right now, especially when already having to work around such a busy schedule and lengthy commute.

College has only become more difficult to keep up with and although the current financial pressures imposed onto students don’t help, having to balance coursework and a job can sometimes hurt students more than help them.

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