Working While Going to School: Some Things to Keep in Mind

Over the years, one of the main concerns that I’ve heard about university is, “How do I pay for school?” While some students are fortunate and have financial support from their families or money from scholarships, other students consider working while going to school to avoid building up huge loans by the time they finish their degree.

My advice: if you’ve never had a job while going to school before, wait for a term. University is very different from high school in terms of the pace and the amount of material that you need to learn at a time, and you don’t want to jeopardize your grades. If, after a term, you feel like you’re at a stable place in your studies, then I would suggest looking into a job.

So, once you’ve decided that you can balance working and going to school at the same time, your next concern might be where to work. Since I have the lucky opportunity of working on and off campus, I thought that I would compare the two experiences to give you an idea of some pros and cons!

Main Quad

Main Quad

Working On Campus

Working on campus is super convenient. One of the best parts about working on campus is that you don’t have to worry about how you’ll get to work! Most buildings on North Campus are connected through indoor routes, so you can stay warm and dry. The convenience also means that you can work for longer periods of time ( more money!) since you don’t have to worry about travel time.

The downside about working on campus is that it may be more difficult to find a job. While CAPS, the university career center, does provide job postings on their website, the variety is definitely not the same as working off campus. Most jobs tend to center around working for a service or office on campus, or working in the food industry.

Whyte Avenue

Whyte Avenue

Working Off Campus

Though working on campus is convenient, it can also become a bit monotonous since you’re spending all of your time at school. One of my jobs is on Whyte Avenue (If you’re not from Edmonton, Whyte Ave is a street with tons of cool shops and food venues), so I also get a chance to walk around and explore the area before going to work. I always find this super refreshing, especially if I’ve just spent a long time in lecture or studying for a class. This allows me to take a break, grab some fresh air, and exercise. This is definitely one of my favourite parts about working off campus.

The downside¬†about working off campus is that I usually have to take the bus to work. While the bus service is usually pretty decent in Edmonton, it becomes a problem if I happen to miss the bus. Of course, traffic jams and weather conditions also become a problem while working off campus. You definitely have to factor in these concerns if you’re going to make it to work on time!