Students Might Need to Work While They're in CollegeIt used to be that working while you were in school was a burden for the lower class. Now, with cost of living and tuition skyrocketing, it is everyone’s burden. In addition, the job market is so competitive and mercurial that you can’t afford to take yourself out of it for a whole four years.

If you’re considering this difficult work-school balance, you’re probably stressing about where you’ll find the time to handle these obligations. But consider for a moment the benefits that working during school can bring to you. To help, here are five very strong reasons to stay in your career while you study:

1. Stay in touch

As good for you as a degree is, it can take you out of the game, so to speak. If you stop working completely, you lose touch with your co-workers, mentors, industry contacts, and other people who are central to your career.

If you continue working, however, you get to hold onto that network while you learn. You might even expand it.

2. Keep growing your network

Between new classmates, instructors, and school administrators, the on-campus college experience can be a huge boost for your network, expanding your relationships into areas you never would’ve touched otherwise. Now imagine that combined with the new contacts you will continue to make while you were work. This can be a powerful network that pays off later when it’s time to cash in that degree you’ve earned.

3. Keep building experience

When all is said and done, experience is currency when it comes to finding the job you want. No amount of class work can quite replace real-world experience. While your classmates may be opting to focus completely on their studies and not add that experience to their resumes, you will be doing both. And that’s a huge benefit when it comes to fishing for your next job.

4. Keep expenses down

Pell grants and scholarships are a great way to fund your education. But if you find that you have to take on excessive amounts of debt to pay for your school expenses, you might consider working to lower or eliminate the need for student loans. In such a situation, you can either work your tail off for four years getting your degree or for ten years paying off those loans plus interest. You decide.

5. Keep up your skills

In most fields, the job skills necessary to be successful change rapidly. If you take four years off of work, you could easily find your job skills are obsolete by the end. Staying on the job, on the other hand, means your job skills keep up with the market.

There is one exception to these benefits. If you are required to take on a heavy credit load and you simply have no time outside of classes and homework, you probably want to forego working, at least until your class load lightens up a bit. Otherwise, you risk running your grades right into the ground.

So do you agree? Should students also work while they study? Join the conversation in the comments below!

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