The adjustment from college life to the working world is one of the hardest transitions out there.
For some, the most difficult aspect of this transition is moving toward full financial independence. However, according to a recent study called "How America Pays for College 2015," many students are beginning to work toward fiscal independence long before graduation day.
In the 2014 to 2015 academic year, over 74 percent of students occupied a job while completing their studies.
Students who have a job while completing school not only have the ability to contribute to the cost of their education, but are often more prepared for the life that follows after that dreaded graduation day.
Here are four critical ways these students are more prepared for life ahead:
1. Time management
When you are employed during your studies, your schedule no longer consists of simply class, homework and friends.
While any extracurricular activity can help students better manage their time, a job isn’t typically viewed as an added, optional luxury.
If you don’t show and perform at your job, you're fired. There isn’t a next meeting for you to be able to contribute.
2. Office culture
One of the hardest things about transitioning into the corporate world is learning how to operate in an office environment.
If your job is on campus or in a local office, you learn what is expected and what is forbidden in general office culture. From learning how to dress to how to interact with coworkers and superiors, students who hold an office job during college have a head start in what is often a tough learning curve in the real world.
If I didn’t have the time, desire, drive or energy to study for an exam and write a paper for a class, I could simply accept the fact that I would receive a lower score. I would be the only person affected by my lack of preparation.
However, in a job, your performance is not only a personal reflection of your work, but also a reflection of the entire office.
As an employee, you are a representative of that restaurant, office or organization. You can’t settle for a "C" anymore, because you are no longer the only one affected.
As a result, having a job makes you accountable to other people, and forces you to perform in a way that best reflects the team.
4. Money management
There are advantages and disadvantages to having your own source of income during college.
The advantage is you don’t always have to turn to your parents for money, and you don’t have to explain what you spent the money they already gave you on. The disadvantage is you don’t have an excuse for being broke because you have an independent source of income.
This helps students understand the harsh reality of a budget.
What you earn is what you are able to spend, and you need to make sure the latter isn’t higher than the former.
It not only increases your sense of personal responsibility, but it also helps you learn the difference between what you need and what you want.
It isn’t easy, but when your friends graduate and are suddenly faced with the idea of a budget, you can rest easy, knowing you already understand what it takes to make ends meet.