Emily Sheahan looks at the benefits of balancing work and college.

It all adds up: fees, rent, transport, food, socialising, etc. Despite the array of discounts, student life can be frightfully expensive. While there are financial aids out there for students, working part time is great way ease the pain of these expenses. Even with the grant, many students struggle to get by financially. With rent prices skyrocketing, especially in Dublin, students are feeling the pressure. On top of all that, asking your parents for money is not a conversation many enjoy.

Working part time as student comes with so many benefits, one of the most notable being independence. While this comes with the challenge of balancing work and college along with all other aspects of life, a bit of freedom and independence are hard to turn down. You won’t feel guilty about wasting your parents money; now you’re wasting your own. Or you’re not wasting it. A major benefit of working is the ability to start actively saving.

Putting money aside each week or month up opens up so many opportunities. Overall its great for the student-parent relationship. The student has independence and many more options in terms of how they use their money, and a burden is taken off parents’ shoulders. There’s nothing like the feeling of having the freedom to travel, and having the funds to make the most of the college experience is not something any student would regret.

Additionally, this is doable. For example, if you work 16 hours a week at minimum wage (which is usually what can be expected for part time student work) you’re making €148. 16 hours a week could be two shifts on the weekend, or even in the evenings during the week. Most employers will happily work around a student’s schedule. In some cases, this might not be enough to cover rent but it is definitely a significant contribution. If necessary, extra hours are doable with good time management skills.

Aside from benefits that working adds to extra-curricular activities and personal experiences, it may also have an impact on academics. While this is often the main concern about working while in college, this impact is not necessarily a negative one.

Firstly, in order to have a handle on the busy schedule that working while studying can present, time management is key. If done right, students can find themselves on top of their studies with money in their pockets.

This benefit of working is one that many may not consider. Experiencing the workplace can have an impact it can have on one’s discipline and work ethic. Working, no matter the job, provides a certain level of control and professionalism that is difficult to pick up elsewhere. As long as it’s not overdone, energy and motivation from working can transfer over into the student’s academics. Working gets you up and moving around and can quickly increase fitness. Being focused and active is so beneficial for mental health. With all this behind you, the certain dauntingness that assignments can present will seem less daunting.

If for nothing else, work for the experience. Many students find it difficult to get employment in their field straight away, and once they do manage to do this, the job may not pay an awful lot straight away. Students also often take up internships, some of which can be unpaid. In this situation many postgraduates may need to work another job in order to get by for the first while. This is where that part-time job from college comes in useful. Applying for jobs in your 20-somethings with no experience to show for may prove difficult.

Aside from the traditional part time work, students have the option of casual work. This won’t bring in as much but these jobs tend to be less time consuming. For example, if a student is particularly skilled at a specific school subject, teaching grinds can be a lucrative job with few hours.

Working is a part of life, just as much as college is. Don’t write off the idea of putting yourself out there. You might learn a lot from those few hours a week.

Still here? Read next: Working Part Time In College: A Bad Idea?