The Daily Illini

Consider limits when looking for a job

By Miranda Holloway

Alright, parents and/or guardians: college is expensive, and more likely than not, your student 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 students. Between trying to make friends, getting involved, finding their classes and learning the best way to study for classes, there is plenty of stress on a college freshman’s plate.

If your student is taking a lighter class load and 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 you and they 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 classes and held multiple leadership positions. I knew how to do laundry, pay taxes, fill out paperwork and do 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 parents supported it, too. I needed that first semester to get on my feet, and then I was able to look for a way to make money while 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. 

I understand that talking about finances with a child is awkward, especially when times are tough, but making your student realize what the consequences are if they don’t help support themselves, they will be more likely to help.

In the case that this still doesn’t give them a kick in the bum, let them know that the parental piggy bank will not support them for too long if they don’t make some of their own change.  

But after a semester of college, they should understand how expensive living is, and will have a wake-up call to help out with payments.

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.

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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