On-Campus Jobs: Are They Worth It?

I know a lot of people with on-campus jobs, and a lot of people without. Some people conduct research with professors to build their resumes, and some work at campus facilities to make a couple extra dollars. So, is it worth it?

Well, it depends.

Regardless of what the on-campus job is, working part time is a big commitment. You have to put your coursework, exams, and extracurricular activities aside for a couple of hours each week. Because of this, it might not be for everyone—some majors and courses are more tedious than others. However, if you have nothing better to do, go for it!

I personally really like my on-campus jobs. Regardless, there are several things to consider before you try to apply for them.

What type of employment is it?

The kind of job you work should be a big factor in deciding whether the job is worth it or not. Types of jobs can range from being a desk worker for a certain college to a tutor for a course.

I currently work two jobs at Illinois—I’m an admissions blogger and assist in international admissions. I love doing both, but neither are directly connected to the career path I want to pursue after college. Nonetheless, this doesn’t really matter to me right now—I have the time.

However, you might not always be able to afford the luxury of time. Courses only get harder and more time-consuming, especially as you enter your junior or senior year. Most of the upperclassmen that I know who have on-campus jobs work in positions directly related to their career field—either in research groups or in specific offices/departments.

If it pays, how well?

Time is money. A lot of the jobs on campus are minimum wage—will this be enough for you? I’m not a big spender, so even minimum wage is more than enough for me. However, if you’re more liberal with what you use your money on, the wage and number of hours you’ll work is a factor worth considering.

Will you be happy?

This is perhaps the biggest piece of advice I can give: No amount of money is worth your mental health or happiness.

The coursework of college alone is hard. It may be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel at a lot of different times (especially during finals), and working a job that you hate will do anything but make that situation better. No amount of money would persuade me to take a job that would make me hate waking up in the morning.

Even though I spend a large portion of my week at work, I don’t mind—I love what I do, and it makes me happy. Going into work is never a bother for me, even if it’s during exam season. Don’t let an on-campus job be an extra challenge for your mental health.

Working a part-time on-campus job is great, but, all things considered, it might not be for everyone. Remember, you’re at school to study. If you have the time and energy to spare, go for it, but don’t sacrifice precious study time to make a couple extra dollars.


Class of 2022
I grew up in Hong Kong, China, and I’ve come across the world to Illinois to major in Astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I’ve always thought outer space is super cool, and I love that I’m learning everything that I can about it at Illinois.

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