Throughout my time in college I have experienced the unique aspects, triumphs and challenges, of both on and off-campus jobs. Previously, I covered a few pros and cons of on-campus jobs, and as I love sharing my learning experiences, I have also compiled a list of a few pros and cons of off-campus jobs for round two.
PROS OF OFF-CAMPUS JOBS
- Wages could potentially be higher than on-campus jobs
Again, this varies from job to job, but chances are greater that an off-campus job will pay more than minimum wage.
- Gets you off campus
I LOVE my campus! But let’s be honest, when you haven’t left it for a while you can start to get a little cabin feverish. People from back home ask you what things are like in your college’s surrounding city and you wonder if you even know anymore. Working off-campus is one way to get you out and about in the surrounding community. Also, any job is great for networking, but off-campus jobs provide an excellent way to network with people in the surrounding community.
- There could be more opportunities for a job related to your field of interest
If you find a job related to your field, it is a great way to see if this is really the field for you. Working in an afterschool program/daycare I got A LOT of unexpected and great hands on experience with child and school psychology work. I would not trade what I learned there for anything, but I also found out that working with kids daily can be draining, and it helped me decide if I wanted to do that kind of work as a career. Jobs can solidify your choices, give you more to think about, and if you decide you want to go in a different direction that is invaluable knowledge as well.
CONS OF OFF-CAMPUS JOBS
- Scheduling could be more difficult
Off-campus jobs do not automatically take time off for school breaks, and you might be competing for time off with other co-workers during these times or high-stress weeks like finals week. I recommend asking for time off well in advance when possible. Although each job has varying levels of flexibility. My job in retail was more flexible with scheduling than my daycare job, which was scheduled five days a week for the same block of time each day.
With an off-campus job you are going to need reliable transportation, whether it be by car or by bus. Commute times might be longer, which also takes time out of your day. My commute to my off-campus job was 20 minutes one way. Which adds up to a little over three hours a week. I did not mind it, but I could have also used that time to study, be part of a club, or hang out with friends throughout freshman year. Also, my freshman year I got in a car accident that totaled my car. I had to find rides to my off-campus job for a few weeks until I could get a new car. Needless to say, the ordeal was a hassle, and there were a few times I had to call in saying I couldn’t come in simply because I couldn’t find a ride that day. (I hope this never happens to you, but it was an eye-opening experience of just how important reliable transportation truly is in daily life).
- Shifts will probably be longer
Because on-campus jobs are generally more flexible and close, you could potentially fit the same number of hours in in-between classes over shorter shifts than with an off-campus job. Shifts for work off-campus will probably be in four or eight hour blocks of time, which mean that your time management may need to be tighter.
All things considered, working during school, whether on-campus or off, can be a beneficial experience. Both give you great knowledge and skills, build your resume, and teach time management. Of the two, one is not inherently “better” than the other. One may just fit your needs better than the other. Each person has their own amount of activities they can put on their plate without being overly stressed. So, look at what you need. Maybe you need the greater flexibility afforded by an on-campus job because you are involved in campus clubs and organizations too, or you want more time to study and still have time to sleep and hang out with friends. Maybe you really want to get involved in the surrounding community, so you go for an off-campus job. You are also going to want to consider the job itself.
Your needs/wants may also change down the line and you can always change what you are doing. The most important thing is that you enjoy the job you are doing and are still able to have the work-life balance you want.
Photo Source: Unsplash | Breather