How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents

Employment & Internships Podcast Episodes

Working While in School

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Pete and Alex talk about having a "jobby-job" while in school.

Read the Show Notes

It was no surprise to my friends that most of my defining moments somehow correlated to a part-time job I had once held. I worked all four years of my undergrad, sometimes multiple jobs a semester. Working provided me with more than just a paycheck—although the extra cash helped curb my student loan debt, and paid for celebration take-out orders or concert tickets to Little 500 events. My jobs provided me with the opportunity to explore career paths, and establish roots within my IU campus and the community around me.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked both on and off campus. Personally, I don’t have much of a preference between the two--both work experiences have been extremely beneficial for me. Both have their advantages and disadvantages—if you are looking for a job, it’s important to weigh these factors into your decision:

Class Schedule

Your first priority at IU is always academics: going to class, making good grades, and taking advantage of opportunities within your academic department. This being said, you want to make sure that a part-time job does not hinder your top priority. On campus employers tend to structure fixed work schedules that revolve around your academics, and are understanding about tests and class projects. If you are looking off campus for employment, make sure you understand your employers approach to student workers before you accept a position.


Transportation to and from your workplace is another thing to consider. If you're in Bloomington and don’t have your own vehicle, the Bloomington Transit is a reliable alternative to getting places throughout campus and Bloomington, but requires you to manage your time. If you are living on campus, it might be more convenient to have an on campus job; if you live off campus, it might be more convenient to have an off campus job near your side of town.

For those at a different campus and have no choice but to drive to campus, make sure to minimize the number of trips you take to school every day to cut back on costs. If you can, try and schedule your classes so that you're at campus for one chunk of the day as opposed to going back and forth between campus and other places during the day...that could end up being a lot of gas saved over the course of a year. Carpooling is also a great option. Chances are, there's somebody who lives nearby that you could partner up with and share rides most days.

Holiday Break Schedule

Factor your University-Holiday plans into your job decision. Campus offices and operations typically close down during semester breaks. This could be a positive if you are planning on heading home or vacationing during time off—no need to request off or find a substitute! However, if you are looking to make some extra cash when you have free time, an on campus job might negatively affect your bank statement.

Your Personal Network Development

The last thing to consider is developing your personal network. On campus jobs are great for building connections with professionals at IU. Having a job on campus is a great way to make campus seem smaller; working closely with administrators and professors allows for close mentor relationships, almost like a family unit on campus. Off campus jobs are great for taking you outside the IU bubble, and building a foundation in the community. Bloomington has many nonprofit organizations, and opportunities to work with children, animals, sustainability, etc. Involvement within the community might be a refreshing break from your on campus routine, and provide you with further leadership positions. Weigh your future career objectives, and what might be valuable experiences for developing skills in areas that interest you.

No matter if you choose an on or off campus position, it’s just important that you start building your resume as early as you can through part time job experiences. Employers seek out student leaders who are not only invested in their education, but are also able to demonstrate self-discipline and time management skills—qualities evident with balancing work and school throughout college. A part time job is more than just a paycheck; it’s an opportunity to expand your marketable skills, explore different career avenues, and make IU Bloomington your new home.