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Students need jobs now for opportunities later

Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 00:09

Going to college to earn a standard four-year degree is not enough to guarantee success. Students should take advantage of opportunities to work while in school. Employment provides practical experience and opportunities to gain life skills, which need to be coupled with a college degree to give it true strength.

In the real world, students must face new obstacles. At work, there won’t be time to sit and theorize about how the job could be done — it just needs to be done. Students won’t be able to rely on financial aid for food and housing.

Last month’s national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent shows that job experience is essential to surviving in the event of another economic recession.

Students can study ethics and legalities in a classroom for years, but field lessons in communication, networking and responsibility are what employers
are really looking for. These skills can only be built through firsthand experience.


According to a 2011 survey of college presidents by Pew Research Center, 58 percent of college students are less prepared than their counterparts ten years ago. A better-rounded college experience, with work to balance out classes, would give students an edge over their peers. Though money is tight and times are tough, it seems as if many college students are still unwilling to work.


Students should not spend four years to get a degree and expect a job to be handed to them with no prior familiarity in the field. In college, students analyze and theorize. In the work force, practical experience is gained. Unless that degree is a predecessor to graduate school, the degree itself is nothing more than a pretty — and expensive — picture on the wall.


In addition to forming a resume, job experience also provides students with a real-life view of money. Working as a student helps reduce debt, earns extra cash for personal expenses and teaches a lesson in money management better taught sooner rather than later.


While many students may feel they do not have time for a job between classes, extracurricular activities and much-needed free time, one of the main goals of earning a college degree is to get a good-paying job. Much of the process would be a waste of time if, at the end, one finds his college degree beat by someone with the same degree and the addition of work experience.


A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that hiring for college students is expected to go up 10.2 percent in 2012.

But those jobs won’t just be handed out, and students need to demonstrate through real-world experience that they are worthy. Students should seize that opportunity by doing everything they can to get those potential future jobs  — including getting a job in the present.

 

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