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How I found the perfect part-time job for my college major

College • September 26, 2018 • Kayla Pinzur

What you’ll learn

  • That a part-time job can make college expenses way easier to manage
  • Tips on how to find a part-time job related to your major

Determining where to allocate your time in college can be a challenge. Starting your first year comes with the selection of college courses—each with a college-level workload—the opportunity to join what seems like an endless amount of student groups and organizations, and the need to socialize to make new friends, all alongside the added responsibilities of doing your own laundry, cooking, and cleaning.

Wait until you’re ready

As I entered my freshman year, I chose to postpone getting a job so I could focus my time on my studies and integrating myself into student life on campus. However, I found that the extra chunk of money I saved up throughout high school quickly dwindled away after paying for books, groceries, student organization dues, dance costumes, and much-needed cups of coffee.

I knew that in my second year, something needed to change. So I began to explore job opportunities at my school, looking into jobs that ranged from fitness instructor to mail room assistant.

Find a job that works for you

Initially, my intention for getting a job was to earn enough money to sustain myself and begin to accumulate money to pay for the following year’s rent. Soon, however, I realized that if I found a job that would be both intellectually stimulating and related to my major, I could ensure that I would be financially stable and strengthen my skill set as a future physical therapist at the same time. I felt that becoming a research assistant at one of the on-campus labs would be the perfect opportunity for me to make this goal a reality.

Look outside the box

In my university’s job database system, I did not see any paid research opportunities related to my field, so I decided to seek out my own opportunity.

After reading about an assortment of the laboratories at my school, I determined that the Rehabilitation Games and Virtual Reality lab (ReGame-VR) related most to my major and my specific interests within the field of physical therapy. I knew that having the chance to be directly involved with research being conducted concerning new rehabilitation methods would be an invaluable experience for me as I continued through the DPT program at my school.

Working as a student can, at times, be difficult, but the financial stability and experience it’s providing me with is most definitely worthwhile.

I emailed the professor who directs the lab and expressed my interest in working there, and she emailed me back indicating that there was an open Research Assistant position. I met with her, began training soon after, and have been working in the lab ever since.

Work doesn’t have to be boring

The lab explores how balance, functional mobility, motor learning, and participation in children and adults with neuromotor impairments can be improved with VR-based therapy.

My role is to engage and guide participants between the ages of 8 and 12 through numerous tests and balance tasks, all after preparing the equipment and computer software, and administering EEGs—an electrical test used to find problems related to the brain—on the participants.

You can still have fun

With added income each week, worrying about whether or not I will have enough money to attend my own organization’s fundraisers or buy groceries is much less of a concern now. Working as a student can, at times, be difficult, but the financial stability and experience it’s providing me with is most definitely worthwhile. If a part-time job doesn’t fit into your current schedule, there are other options for covering college costs, like college scholarships, grants, and student loans.

Kayla is an aspiring physical therapist. She’s saving money by working as a Research Assistant at the RE-Game-VR lab at her school. Kayla is a 2016 Bridging the Dream Scholarship winner.

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Sallie Mae does not provide financial, tax, or legal advice and the information contained in this article does not constitute tax, legal, or financial advice. Sallie Mae does not make any claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Sallie Mae.