School And Work? 4 Things To Keep In Mind When Hunting for Part-Time Jobs

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The fall semester looms near. Did your pack your things? Make your schedule? Say goodbye to your summer flip flops? The end of August is a time of change, and for some students, this may mean starting a part­-time job for the first time. Now, I know it’s hectic to move into your dorm, prep for classes, and adjust to the back-­to-­school mentality, but now is the time to start hunting for part-­time jobs for the fall semester.

Here are four things to keep in mind:

1. School vs. Job

School comes first. But your job pays for school. But school comes first. This has gone through your head before, hasn’t it? If you’re like me, you work part-time during the semester to pay for textbooks, supplies, and tuition. Some students pay for their groceries and bills and rent. Whatever your situation, it’s important to understand your own limit and be able to balance that midterm paper on ancient Greek epics or the midnight shift in the student labs.

Everybody has their own pace. Some students may find the workload heavy, especially if they’re new students or thesis-­stressed seniors. Consider these things when you’re deciding if you want to work or not.

2. Paperwork

Since you’re working, you might want to get some things together. Before leaving mom or dad, get your personal information from them. Many jobs require identification, so get a state ID or an unexpired driver’s license from the DMV. At the end of the year, you’ll get some papers about taxes, which you might give to your parents so they can file their taxes. Don’t throw these papers out or lose them! You should provide accurate data because that tax info is the same info you’ll need for your FASFA (that sounds familiar right?). When in doubt, keep it, and ask your university’s finance or career office.

3. Where To Work

In the school library? In the labs? In the bakery, the clothing store, the modeling agency? Things to consider about your job is how it would work with your schedule. Because colleges can have pretty irregular hours, it may be hard to find someone who would take you from 3­-9pm one day, and 7am-­4pm the next. Keep in mind that university jobs tend to go to students who are in financial need, and departmental jobs look for students who are reliable in their major and may not depend on financial need. For example, I don’t get first dibs at the library, but I managed to find work in the photography lab. See the difference? Find what suits you, and don’t be afraid to ask around your school. Jobs as an assistant, teacher’s assistant, archivist, or anything else may be found in unexpected places.

4. Start Hunting!

Since people are going back to school, they’ll be quitting their jobs. Someone going from New York to California may drop one job in the Big Apple only to pick up another job in San Diego. Imagine all of the college students who are doing this (possibly including you!). The next few weeks are the perfect time to find jobs, especially in school (since the semester is starting again).

Each semester is a chance for a new beginning, to try something new or to redo something from before. Getting a job may be scary and stressful, but you’ll never know what you’ll get if you don’t try! Good luck!

Image: Tobias Mikkelsen, Flickr