The Daily Illini

By Miranda Holloway

Alright parents and/or guardians, college is expensive and more likely than not, your child is going to need a job to help out with tuition, fees, living expenses and so on.

I get that, I pay for school essentially on my own, with the help of grants, scholarships and loans (sigh), and working as a student is what makes my college experience possible.

That being said, acknowledge your students as individuals before dogging them about their job prospects on campus.

Going to college is a culture shock for most.

Between trying to make friends, getting involved, finding their classes and learning the best way to study, there is plenty of stress on a college freshman’s plate.

If your student is taking a lighter class load and is one that can roll with the punches without much help, then pushing a job on them in their first semester might not hurt too much.

If both of you feel comfortable with their adjustment and time management skills, then it’s never too early to start raking in the cash.

Unfortunately, not many students are like this. I thought I was. I was most definitely not.

I had been a generally independent and confident kid in high school. I had a job for three years, was a good student in advanced and held multiple leadership positions. I knew how to do laundry, pay taxes, fill out paperwork and other adult-like things.

But being away from home, having to make new friends and adjust to a whole new level of coursework was overwhelming.

I wanted a job and knew I needed to get one, but putting it off a semester was one of the best decisions I made in college, and my parent supported that.

I needed that first semester to get on my feet and then I was able to look for a way to make money while still staying successful in school.

Pushing students to get a job while they are trying to figure out how college works will cause more stress than those paychecks are worth.

If a stressed student starts too early, it can cost them their physical and mental health, but also their grades. If that GPA falls too low, they can kiss their scholarship goodbye. It’s basically impossible to make up that lost money on a student’s salary.

If you don’t trust your new student to eventually find a job, give them a few months before you start pushing.

After a semester of college, they will understand how expensive living is and will have a wake up call to help out.

Every financial situation and student is different, so it’s up to you and your student to find a solution that works for everyone. Be honest with one another about expectations, financial realities and time management.

Finding a job where a student is comfortable will also help the student make the most of their student work experience.

Not every student is going to be statisfied working a desk reception job at an on campus building, just as not every student will do well on their feet working retail or at campus recreation.

Looking at the job board will give students a glimpse of what is availale to them when they are ready to get a job.

At the end of the day, no one knows your child and your financial situation better than you, and it’s up to you to find something that is both financially responsible and healthy for the student.

Miranda is a junior in Media.

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