Student employment: an overview

The decision whether to work or not while being a student at college can be as challenging as deciding what courses to study.

How much time it will take, what the responsibilities will be, and whether additional preparation is needed before starting all come into consideration before anyone commits.

Once students are involved, however, the rewards immediately begin to compile.

A lot of reasoning comes into play when determining why students work. Why seek out a job, why accept one of multiple options, why put the time and effort into the given position?

Deciphering the rationality behind career choices begins by focusing on the available employment opportunities: on-campus or off-campus.

Approximately 1,300 students at Puget Sound are employed, which makes up close to half of the student body.

The majority of jobs held are on-campus, though off-campus careers are viable options for many students. The student staff comprises roughly 25 percent of non-faculty employed workers.

This helps to maintain Puget Sound while the University is helping the student body reach their educational goals.

So why do students work? Evan, a junior here at school, said he works so that he can earn enough money to ship his car from Hawaii to Washington.

Every person has an individual motivation behind the decision to work, and it’s astonishing to discover how much variety exists.

Melody, a sophomore, said she is looking for a job because she will have to pay rent for the first time.

These diverse needs shape the direction students go when venturing into the job market; for some the focus is to obtain decent wages to live from, for others it’s purely for the experience and networking.

Career and Employment Services is a great resource on campus to assist students in their career development process.

They can be found in Howarth 101 and offer exclusive opportunities on which students can capitalize, including but not limited to: resume writing, alumni connection, tailored job searches, and custom approaches to a student’s idealized career pathway.

Student Employment Coordinator Andrea Shea discussed the multitude of benefits within Career and Employment Services and the contributions that work plays into a student’s performance in college.

“CES knows that every interaction with the work setting is going to influence your career path,” she said.

There is always something of value to take away from each encounter a student has with an employer or future contact that can translate into references for a more suitable career.

Working while attending college can help develop new skills, cultivate leadership, and reinforce the ever-crucial practice of time management.

Shea commented that the recommended hours for students to work each week is 19-20, but even with 15 hours she can notice students “do better, are more structured and organized and make [valuable] connections.”

The workload students undertake is dependent upon their own personal time boundaries and commitment to balancing school and extra activities, though generally 20 hours a week is a reasonable maximum.

Shea also mentioned that working during college has become more typical.

“I started working when I was 14 and when I got to campus I didn’t see a reason not to,” Jess, a senior at Puget Sound, said. She works now to sustain her living expenses.

The next time you fill out that job application, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? How will it benefit me in the long run? and Is this manageable with my schedule?”

Work becomes not something simply to be done because it’s a job, but shifts into progress toward shaping individual goals and dreams.