Opinion: ASU student jobs don't hinder a student's academic success

Having a job teaches students valuable time management skills that supplement other activities

Students consider employment for various reasons but are often wary to pursue a job because they see it as a further strain on time and therefore an obstacle to academic success. 

However, while it is true that having a job will decrease the time a student has for academics, clubs and their social life, it is unfair to assume a job will cause a decrease in success.

“I absolutely believe that students that hold a job while in college do better in their classes and at work because they have more to balance and have to develop that time management skill,” said Margaret Jarvis, a career counselor for W.P. Carey Career Services at ASU.

Essentially, the time constraint that comes with having a job can actually help students by teaching them how to make the most of their time. 

For the average student, having a schedule that only contains classes and moderate campus involvement leaves large gaps in which they can decide what to do. While this may seem favorable because students have more time to focus on studying and still have free time, idle time can often be detrimental. Without a pressing need to finish assignments quickly, students can justify putting off important tasks, resulting in worse performance.

A job fills these gaps in students’ schedules. This leaves less time to finish assignments or prepare for a test, forcing students to adapt by becoming more efficient with how they use their time. It becomes no longer acceptable for students to check their phones too often or longer breaks while studying — instead, they learn to focus intently to finish work faster and reach the free time they desire.

Some studies have proven that holding a part time job didn't hinder a student's academic life, but supplemented it. A 2016 study from Brigham Young University found that students working less than 15-20 hours got higher GPAs than students who didn't work at all. 

While having a job is great for these benefits, it is still important for students to consider their individual situations. Everyone has a different tolerance for school and work, as well as different needs. These should be taken into account when students decide to work part-time or full-time.

“If they can balance 20 to 30 hours with school, that would be more ideal than 40, but I would advise that students who have to work full-time can still handle it,” Jarvis said. “They just need to find ways to manage their time better with other commitments they have.”

Working part-time is a great way for the average student to be challenged without being overwhelmed, and there are many great options available on-campus. Students can choose from a broad range of jobs — whether they wish to work in an office environment or on the SDFC fields, they can find a perfect fit.

At the same time, students who have to work full-time for financial reasons should know that they can still be successful at school — they simply need to dedicate themselves to a disciplined schedule.

By finding the right balance between work and study, students will be surprised with how much they can accomplish in a limited amount of time. These time management skills, along with the many others that come with a job, will continue to serve students in college and beyond.

Reach the columnist at jkbeneve@asu.edu or follow @JacobBenevento on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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