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Student worker woes

Why mandatory work programs for students aren’t beneficial

Some believe that every student should be required to retain some sort of job while attending school. However, is that really in the best interest of all students?

There’s a question over whether or not universities should require students to have some kind of job, no matter how menial it may be. Some believe this is a necessity, something colleges should enforce for all students — but it seems much more beneficial to simply encourage students to work rather than force them.

In a March 1 Wall Street Journal article, Laura Hamilton, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Merced, advocated for work programs in schools. The reasoning behind this idea is that universal employment for all students could lead to on the job training, bettering time management skills and help to blur the lines of social inequalities.

A fraction of students have the bill for college footed by family, with no added stress on the students and no need to pursue a livelihood due to no financial stress. However, there is also the fraction of students who struggle with tuition payments and are required to take any sort of job in order to help pay for their education.

The end result is unequal footing between the haves and the have nots. Requiring all students, regardless of financial situation, to seek employment might bridge this monetary and social gap. It seems beneficial for students to work, but it does raise the question of whether or not it should be a requirement.

Making students work would be the wrong way of going about things. Reenah Sheikh, a freshman biology major, said, “Getting a job wouldn’t make students equal. Not all jobs pay the same. It would just increase the social gap across campus.”

College is meant to be a stepping stone to future success, and through pushing all students to get jobs, the original good intentions may end up lost, instead undermining a student’s academic career through added stress. Some students may get relevant job training for their planned profession, but whether it’s menial work or an internship, the requirement could further hurt students.

A more effective solution could be reached through encouraging all students to pursue work, either on or off campus. Universities can push internship opportunities as a primary form of instruction, in order to help students become more proficient in the working world.

College is one of the first times in many people’s lives that a young adult can gradually start making their own decisions. Through forcing each student to have a job, universities could take away many of these student’s choices.

The possibility of working 10–15 hours in a menial job that has no guarantee to help the student retain any useful future skill could simply vex and put unnecessary pressure on a student. Self-driven and determined students usually take the matter of employment into their own hands and are compelled by their own resolve.

However, if students are required to work, which could take away from studying, social activities and any number of interests, there might be much less motivation on the student’s part which would end up hurting their academic career.

The choice of retaining a job while studying in college should be a choice solely left to the student, they should be in charge of their own college experience.

Photo Credit: Sara Azeem