University times might be the best of your life but they can be lean. And how can you be expected to have so much fun if you can’t even eat a good meal, pay for life’s niceties or are racking up a mountain of debt because of your school fees? For that reason, many students take a job. Of course, the problem with that is that those jobs threaten to take important time away from your studies and in that way endanger your GPA. And that could just as big of a disaster.
So what are you to do? Should you go dumpster diving for anything salvageable and hope to make it through in that way? Fortunately, no. It turns out there are a lot of jobs that won’t necessarily hurt your GPA. There are even some which can really help your future prospects!
What am I talking about? Well, read on!
Work for the department
If you’re an A student then no doubt there are a few people in the department who are impressed by what you’re doing. So why not see if there is a job to be had there? Perhaps you can work as a teaching assistant or help in a research lab. These positions won’t make you rich, perhaps – but they do have the advantage that you’re working in an environment where you’re actually getting to apply what you’re learning directly.
In that way, you’re actually going to gain a far deeper understanding of the subjects you’re studying. Even better, you’re getting to know your professors far better than most students. And that often means that if you want to continue working at the university or want to study onwards and need funding help, you’ll be on the inside track to getting it.
Another great choice is to help other students with their studies. Perhaps they struggle to understand the material, or they need help writing so they too can write rewarded essays, or they don’t have enough money to afford dissertation writers for hire.
The benefits here are similar to being a TA or working in a research lab – except that you get to be your own boss and get to decide who you want to work with. Even better, if you’re tutoring and helping people in the very classes you’re taking, then you will constantly be busy with the very subjects you’re meant to be studying.
And as you have to truly grasp something before you can teach it, that means you’re probably going to end up being even stronger in those classes than you’d be if you’re not studying.
Do a job where the main requirement is that you just be there
Another route you can consider is getting out of academia entirely and instead of doing a job – like a security guard, front desk at a hotel or working in a library – where most of the time your job consists of being there and not much more. Then, while you’re making money you can continue writing papers, studying your coursework and in other ways keeping your GPA up.
If this is your plan, do make sure that you actually ask of the places you’re at whether it will be possible for you to study. If you keep that intention hidden then you might find that your boss isn’t at all happy with you pouring over your school books while you’re at the job. And that can lead to serious friction.
Better to come out with it right from the beginning. Explain your intentions and ask if that will be a problem. If it will be, well then it’s time to apply somewhere else.
Participate in research
Okay, I’m not talking about medical trials (though that’s also an option). What I really mean is participating in studies in the social sciences. Particularly if you’re an undergrad with real ambitions to go the distance this is something worth considering.
Why? Because a lot of researchers don’t know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of experiments. You won’t have that problem. That means you’ll be far more likely to construct believable experiments, understand what will keep research subjects entertained and what kind of cover stories they’re going to believe and which ones they’re going to see right through and therefore won’t work.
Besides, there are often dead times in the department anyway. Why not make it a habit to fill those with those studies? It won’t make you rich, but it might just allow you to buy lunch.
Paid summer internships
Okay, you probably want to go off and see beautiful places over the summer and the idea of doing an internship isn’t at all appealing. At the same time, you should think about it. Often, a summer internship can be a lot of days a week – which means you can actually make decent money.
And if you’re an A student anyway, it shouldn’t be that hard to make yourself indispensable at the company so that once you’re done with the summer you can continue part-time at the company. The best part? If you choose the internship correctly you’ll constantly be able to apply what you’re learning. This will mean you won’t just have good grades, but will even have applied knowledge that most of your fellow students can only dream of.
There are a lot of jobs that connect beautifully with your studies and even enhance what you’re learning there. All you have to do is think a little bit outside the box. In which sectors do they use the skill set your learning? Can you start working there before you graduate?
If the answer is yes, then you’ve got a great opportunity not just to earn yourself a bit of extra cash but even to set yourself up for an actual career.
Alternatively, find a job that isn’t too demanding and you’ll have time to study while you’re on the job. Then you’ll get paid even while you’re keeping those As rolling in. Now, who could ever complain about that?