The idea of working during your freshman year in college is good. However, it can be disastrous for some students.
I worked for a while during my freshman year of college but life happened and I dropped out. There are more details to my story, which I don’t have time to share in this article.
If you want to get the details of how and why I dropped out of college, read my full story.
In this article, I will only be using part of my experience to help you decide whether you should get a job during your first year of college or not.
Before I get to the decision, I will outline for you some of the advantages and disadvantages of working during your freshman year.
Advantages of getting a Job during your Freshman Year
Working during your freshman year of college has great benefits. The following are the major ones you can expect:
If you choose to work during your first year in college, you will be exposed to many opportunities. Working at McDonalds will cause you to meet many people.
It is impossible for you not to meet someone who will offer you an opportunity of a lifetime while serving. Life has a way of bringing great people your way if you position yourself.
If you start working during your first year in college, you will have a greater chance of meeting ‘people who matter’ by the time you are done with college.
Meeting such people will mean that your life after college will be sorted in terms of career. You may also get a spouse, who knows?
Putting yourself out there during your first year of college is great in terms of exposing you to great opportunities.
2. Extra money in your Pocket
I’m sure this is the first advantage you thought of when you considered working during your freshman year of college.
Yes, working during your freshman year will mean extra money in your pocket. Even if you are being funded, earning your own money normally comes with a sense of accomplishment that other sources of money can’t provide.
Also, if you start earning during your first year of college, you will be prompted to learn basic money management skills, which are very important in life.
By the time you get out of college, you will be well versed with handling money.
It is one thing to assume that earning money is all there is but once you start earning it, you’ll realize there are a million other things you need to get right for you to enjoy the money you earn.
I never valued money until the day I worked for it. I wasted much of the money I got from my Dad but once I sweated to earn my own money, the wastage stopped.
In no time, I had already created a personal budget to manage my expenses.
Earning your own money has great lessons apart from just putting extra money in your pocket.
3. Productivity Mode
Being productive is a habit. Choosing to get a job during your freshman year will teach you to be productive early enough.
It is not easy to have a job and attend class at the same time. The extra duty you will get will stretch you and with the stretching will come the productivity habit.
While most freshmen opt to have fun when they are not in class, they don’t know that they are creating a laxity habit.
After graduating from college, they will have to undo the laziness they accustomed themselves to for them to survive in the real world.
But if you choose to start working in your freshman year, you will have the productivity habit that will help you after you graduate.
Disadvantages of Working as a College Freshman
Unfortunately, having job as a freshman is not fun and making money all the time. There are serious problems that come with having a job as a college freshman.
The following are the major disadvantages of working a job during your freshman year in college:
1. The Employment Trap
Looking for a job, working and earning is great but unfortunately, it is addictive. It is a treadmill that gets harder to jump off the more you stay on it.
Let me explain…
When you get a job in your first year of college, you will start earning some money. Whether you like it or not, you will change your lifestyle.
You will spend a bit more than you would usually spend if you didn’t have the extra money coming in. The lifestyle that you create will demand maintenance and that is where the problem begins.
In case the job you have ends, you will panic and will be forced to look for another job to sustain your new lifestyle.
Also, after working for a while in one job, you will naturally want a promotion. Before you know it, you will be fully immersed in so much politics at work.
The attachment you will have to your job will make it hard for you to quit if you want to.
The worst part of working during your freshman year is that you will most likely be trapped in the small gigs you will be doing.
Since life is just a collection of habits and decisions, the more small jobs you work, the more your mind gets accustomed to them.
What might have begun as a source of extra money in your pocket ends up as the only thing you know how to do to earn you money.
2. Finding Balance
If you choose to get a job in your first year of college, you will obviously struggle to balance your job with your school work.
It may not be hard at first since there will be less school work but as you progress, school work will demand more attention. If you have a job, you will barely have time for school work.
And even if you have time for both, you won’t have time to spend with your friends.
From my experience, when you start earning money, college starts losing meaning. The very main aim of going to college is often to get certified to work in a particular field.
If you can make money, why should you be in college?
If you have money coming in, you will progressively develop a don’t care attitude towards college and before you know it, you will be on the brink of dropping out.
This was one of the reasons that made me drop out of college. I also know a friend of mine who was dealing with apps. As soon as he started making money, the excitement made him lose focus in school and he dropped out.
Therefore, unless you are okay with dropping out of college because of a job, be careful with getting a job during your freshman year.
The Best Approach to having a Job during your Freshman Year
Since there are advantages and disadvantages of having a job during your freshman year, it is necessary to apply a rule that will guarantee the best possible result.
I will break down the golden rule into three sections:
Learn how to Invest
Instead of looking for a job that will enslave you, why not learn about investment and use the investment knowledge to make money?
Investment is flexible; it does not enslave like a job.
Instead of working at McDonalds, why not learn how to buy and sell McDonalds shares? It will take you a bit of time to learn but once you master it, you are set for life.
There are many other investment opportunities for college students that you can take advantage of.
In my first year of college, I got a freelance job to write articles. I did it for a short while then realized that it was unsustainable in the long run.
I decided to improve my writing skill and start my own website. Several years later, here you are on my blog.
Had I continued writing articles for other people just to make money, I would have missed the opportunity to find fulfillment by helping people through my writing.
In case you urgently need money and investment is not suitable for you, consider working online. Get a freelance job that is flexible.
You can write articles for websites and get paid, become a virtual assistant for someone, trade currencies, buy and sell websites and many other online jobs.
Online jobs won’t take much of your time and in most cases, they pay better than physical jobs.
As a freshman, there will be many adjustments you will need to make in order to fit in the new life. Having a hectic job on your back is a terrible way to begin your life in college.
Build a Long-term Business
Instead of doing a job just to get some money to survive on, start a proper business that you can scale and make a full time income.
Do you want to start figuring out how to make money again once you graduate? Why not build a solid business that will become your full time job once you graduate?
With my writing skill, I decided to start my own blog because I knew a blog can scale into a huge business.
Having a job in your freshman year of college is a bitter-sweet experience. If you want to have the best experience without sacrificing your performance in class, get an online job that is flexible.
If you are not in a hurry to make money, go the long-term route and create a serious business that will become your full time job after you graduate from college.
Remember Facebook was started in a college dorm.
All the best!