Should I Get a Job in Graduate School?

For many students, having a job isn’t a choice – it’s a necessity. Even if you have financial aid or scholarships, it’s often hard to make ends meet while still having a bit of spending money. The trick is knowing how many hours you can handle before it starts to take a toll on your work. If you’re trying to decide whether or not to get a job, there are some things to consider.

job school


Alternatives to Working

If you don’t think you can balance a job and your classes, you might want to consider taking out private student loans for graduate school. That will give you enough to cover the cost of tuition and your living expenses, as well as any textbooks. You’ll have more time to focus on your studies since you won’t have to work.

Can You Handle a Job?

What you can handle is different from your friend’s can. Some people might be able to support a family while working two jobs in school. But there are also plenty of students who took on more than they could handle and suffered as a result. You know yourself best and how you’ll do under pressure. Will it make you work harder to get everything done? Or will you become overwhelmed? 

Before applying to jobs, put together a schedule with study time, classes, and other activities to get an idea of how many hours a week you could work. Don’t forget to schedule time for yourself to avoid burnout. To successfully integrate a job with life as a graduate student, it’s important to prioritize your studies while ensuring that you don’t miss out on fun activities. If you can, you may want to wait a semester before becoming employed. That way, you can become accustomed to your new life. 

Is it Worthwhile?

There are many aspects to a job beyond the money. Consider why you want a particular job. They aren’t created equal. Some offer valuable exposure or professional contacts. Others give you work experience or even college credit. Ask what you’re looking for in your workplace. Is the pay more than the minimum wage? Does it offer you a good experience? How far is it from campus or your apartment? You might enjoy a chance of meeting people outside the academic world.

If it does not meet your requirements, you may want to reconsider it. You can always find employment elsewhere. But if it looks like it’ll be a big drain on your time, look elsewhere. Your academic record is harder to replace if you don’t do well in your classes. Remember why you’re attending graduate school – to get a good career and find work that you love. Working should enhance your goals instead of hindering you. That’s why you want to determine if it’ll be detrimental to your school experience. You’re there to learn, but you’re likely only in graduate school once. If you can, take time to enjoy yourself by getting involved with friends, organizations, and the local community.