The reasons behind students choosing to seek employment.

Photo by Lauren St. Clair.
Photo by Lauren St. Clair.

The stereotypical “broke” student is one we are all too aware of. From jokes on social media to discussions at a higher governmental level, this is certainly not news. It should also be of no surprise that, for some, the choice to work alongside a degree is a necessity. But, the issue is more complex than first meets the eye. Often, financial reasons are not the sole motivating factor to seek employment while at University.

Working alongside studying is not as incoherent a relationship as it first seems. Aside from the obvious monetary income, it also allows the individual to reap significant benefits; arguably, the most important being that it offers valuable work experience that employers find important upon leaving University. Regardless if this job is in your ideal field of work or not, you are still learning important life skills. These soon become embedded into your habits; naturally that can make you much more employable with kills, for example, such as time management or communication.

As someone who has worked alongside gaining their University degree, I can only confirm this. Working while at University does help develop your confidence and independence. Commentators on this issue, such as Mathew Jenkins in The Guardian, have further addressed how it can not only offer experience but can even lead to full time employment post University life.

This is not to say that this is the ideal situation. In the ultimate student utopia, individuals would be in a position to solely focus upon their work. Moreover, it is significant to note that this is still a choice many choose not to take. One student I spoke to explained how she already has little free time alongside her studies, and to ensure her well-being at University she wishes for her “free time to be avoidant of stress”. This appears to be a common theme of those who choose not to work. Not as they don't require the financial aid, but because of the strain it would place on their studies.

Essentially, employment at University has a very individualistic approach. There appears to be no right or wrong opinion over it. Most likely this is owning to the fact that it revolves around money; a personal and potentially taboo issue. Some students may choose to take the path of employment, while others will not. The key thing, however, is that we don't hold presumptions around the issue. It may easily become an awkward discussion, but it needs to be talked about free of judgement.