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On Being a Student and Working

April 30, 2018


I was not allowed to work during high school. My mom discouraged it, urging me to instead focus on my studies. I’m grateful for her decision because I am now a student at NYU, my dream school, and I know my excellent academic record contributed to my acceptance.  However, throughout my time at NYU thus far, I have not experienced what it is like to be just a student. On top of being a full-time student, I have worked part-time since my first year. If I’m not at class, I am most likely at one of my jobs. Even though working as a student entails sacrificing a significant amount of your free time and maybe having to say no to your friends every once in a while, it is worth it. 

I have sustained myself since I started college, providing for myself: groceries, vacations, textbooks, transportation — you name it. Every time the direct deposit hits my bank account every two weeks, I get the satisfaction of knowing that I earned that money, and I don’t have to financially rely on anyone else. Don’t get me wrong, I still rely on my mom for some things, but I know that I don’t need her help because I can completely financially support myself if need be. The financial freedom is liberating.

While working during college is a clear resume booster, it also teaches you valuable skills such as prioritization, time management and commitment. I work between 20 and 25 hours a week, but I designed my class schedule so that on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I finish class and work by 2:30 p.m. That gives me three days where I have the entire afternoon and evening to do homework or something fun. Other weekdays, I am at class or work from 9 a.m. — sometimes earlier — until 6 p.m. or later, usually with a short 30-minute break during the day. Due to my strict schedule, I have to plan my weeks and prioritize assignments. My planner is my bible — I even plan when to meet with friends or go to the gym. While my time is usually accounted for on my planner, I always leave time to have fun. And more importantly, I have learned to accept when I have to deviate from my schedule.

Working as a student, even as a first-year, is a sacrifice, but it is also rewarding. NYU and New York City have so many opportunities to offer —  don’t be afraid to take advantage of them. A busy schedule and the accompanying stress is part of the NYU lifestyle. 


Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this appeared in the Monday, April 30 print edition. Email Paola Nagovitch at [email protected].