I hope this will help some folks and also open discussion on whether if it is beneficial to work while in undergrad or not?
Find a Job That Complements Your Lifestyle and Doubles as a Networking Opportunity
Taylor Morrow was searching for part-time work as an undergraduate at
Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., she didn't have to look any
further than the faculty lounge.
Ms. Morrow, who studied accounting at
Susquehanna's undergraduate business school and received a work-study
grant as part of her financial-aid package, landed a job as an
events-planning assistant for an entrepreneurship professor. In her two
years in the position, Ms. Morrow connected with many business-school
professors and local entrepreneurs as she organized networking events.
Additionally, she says the professor she worked with was very
understanding when she had to rearrange her schedule during finals.
"In terms of prioritizing, school has to come first," says Ms.
Morrow, age 22, though she credits the experience she gained as a
student worker with helping prepare her for her current position as an
accounting associate with Prudential Financial in Newark, N.J.
With all that's vying for undergraduates' attention as they head back
to campus this fall—including extracurriculars, social events and, of
course, schoolwork—juggling an on-campus job can seem like a tall order.
But if you choose a job that complements your lifestyle and opt for a
position that doubles as a networking opportunity, being a student
worker isn't only manageable, it also could bring rewards that go far
beyond just collecting a paycheck.
Finding a job that's a good fit is critical for busy students, says
Christine Bolzan, founder of Graduate Career Coaching, a
career-counseling service in Boston.
For example, if you're worried you won't have enough time to study,
look for a job monitoring an art gallery, library or athletic facility
where you're likely to have a lot of downtime, Ms. Bolzan says. Or, if
your schedule is largely sedentary and you need some physical activity,
get a job that keeps you on your feet, such as waiting tables or
refereeing intramural games, she says.
Ms. Bolzan advises freshmen to delay taking a job until at least
halfway through their first semester or, if they can, to wait until
their second semester. This will buy you some time to get to know your
campus and find your rhythm, she says.
If you find a job that allows you to expand your professional
network, jump on it, even if you might earn more doing something else,
says Harlan Cohen, author of "The Naked Roommate," a college-advice
"If you want to be a doctor, don't work at Subway," Mr. Cohen says.
He suggests contacting your student-employment or career office to see
if there are any on-campus opportunities that match your career
interests. Alternatively, you could try asking your professors if they
need help with research or know of any paid student opportunities. That
way, he says, you'll gain work experience in your field and make
connections with potential mentors.
If you need to brush up on professional skills, your
student-employment office may be a good resource, says Amy Greenspan,
student-employment coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin. UT
Austin, for example, offers the Student Employee Excellence Development
(SEED) program, which includes a series of 16 workshops that cover
topics such as employment basics, conflict management and stress
management, she says.
SEED participant Stormie Wilfong, a UT Austin senior who works part
time as a senior student associate at the athletics department
human-resources office, says she has drawn on advice from the workshops
while on the job. In particular, she says she implemented this tip: Be
attentive and courteous to everyone who walks through the office door.
It seems to be working. The 21-year-old, who studies health promotion
at the university's college of education, was named a finalist last
year for UT Austin's Student Employee of the Year award.
If your college doesn't offer similar resources for student workers,
talk to upperclassmen about their experiences working on campus, Mr.
Cohen says. They might have pointers about balancing studying, work and
life at your particular school, he says. And they probably know where to
look for the best on-campus jobs.
Don't stress out too much about time management, students and experts
say—indeed, you might find you're more efficient with a job than
without one. "If you have a job while you're in school, then you don't
have so much free time to waste," Ms. Wilfong says.