Working while going to school: what to keep in mind

Every single year, the same concern is on every lips: “How am I going to pay for college?”. Yes, Quebec tuition fees are the lowest in Canada but even for residents it might be quite an investment! and I’m not even talking about out of the province students (who pay about 4 times the price) or even international students who can pay as much as $30,000 a semester to get their education in Quebec.

If you’re only starting university now and that you’ve never gotten a job before that, my advice to you: wait a term or two. Why? Well, you need to know how the schedule of a university student looks like. If you’re taking 5 classes a week, you should have up to 20 hours a week, it may not seem like much but the work that you will have to do at home can be a real challenge between all the readings, papers, team projects, exams… You will need some time to make sure you can balance work and study at the same time so it doesn’t have a negative impact on your studies.

So… have you decided to work? Great! Time for you to make some extra money to enjoy your weekends then! But where could you work? Two solutions are presented to you: Working on campus or off campus.

Working on campus

Working on campus is definitely the most convenient for a student. Need to go to work right before or after class? It’s right there! No need to hurry, you’re already there.  You won’t have to get stuck in public transportation and that  time you save makes you have more time to work… and more money as a result! However, it is not that easy to find a job on campus… You can however look on your university’s website and give it a try!

Working off campus

Goodbye monotony of being on campus all day, and welcome to a new environment! The easiest job to find near the residences are definitely in retail (like target or similar stores) and in the food industry (try all the cafés like Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Java U…)! Those are all student jobs that will hire all the time and will help you earn some money, even if the wages won’t be that high for the work you’re doing…

My advice to you is to try to find a job related to your field of study. I know it is easy to say that but try to find an internship in the field you want to work on, it will have many advantages: you will get some money in order to pay your fees, your rent, activities…. It will also give you relevant experience in your field and will give you a competitive advantage over the other students. It will also help you decide if you really want to work on this field or not! Oh and last but not least: it will help you develop a network, thing that will truly be available in the future!

Good luck on finding a job and dealing with work and school at the same time! Don’t worry guys, you can definitely do it!