The Reasons Behind Being a Student-Worker

31 Maret 2012 17:02:35 Dibaca :

There are many college students who are also a worker. They run double jobs everyday; being a student of a college and being a worker of an institution or a company. It is sometimes found a bit risky to run those things together because of the difficulties to balance one another.  However, there are some reasons why the student-workers bravely keep taking risk to work instead of only focusing on their study at the college. One of the reasons is to pay their tuition fees. Thus, the ability of managing time and determining the priority scale is definitely needed in order to balance between studying and working, so the student-workers could be good both in their academic and their carrier.

Nowadays, most of the college students are also taking a part-time job besides studying at the colleges. They are called as a student-worker. A term of student-worker has been popular in the world. In Japan, eight out of ten foreign students are engaged in some type of part-time work (JASSO survey 2009), even in America, working through college has been part of the college experience for much of American history (Tina Tuttle, with Jeff McKinney & Melanie Rago, 2005). Meanwhile, there are some kinds of jobs mostly taken by a student-worker, for instance as a freelance teacher, a translator, a waiter or a waitress, a sales promotion girl, a radio broadcaster, a freelance reporter, a clerk, an administration staff (Tirta: 2005) or even as a professional singer. As quoted by Chairman Mao Tse Tung, a Chinese writer, “without the people's interests constantly at heart, their work is useless”, those kinds of worker-students’ jobs are mostly chosen based on their interests. The ones who choose a job as a teacher perhaps have an interest in teaching; on the other hand, the ones who decide to work as a freelance writer perhaps have an interest in writing articles, short story, poetry, etc. However, running double jobs every day are a bit risky because of the difficulties to balance one another, but the worker-students must have some strong reasons why they bravely take risk to work instead of only concentrating on studying at their colleges. What are the reasons then?

The first reason is to help parents accommodating the student-workers’ tuition fee. It is believed that having a higher education level today is not easy because much money must be spent by each college student to pay their tuition fees. Besides, not all the college students come from the high economic class. Some of them successfully get a chance to continue their study in a university because of their outstanding academic performance, yet they come from the low economic class. Realizing this condition, being a student-worker is a good way to deal with this gap. Moreover, the price of higher education continues to increase, so it could be contributing to more students working more hours (Pinto, Parente, & Palmer, 2001). By working, student-workers can earn money and this will be so helpful that their parents do not need to think further about how to accommodate their children’s tuition fees anymore (Yenni, 2007). Furthermore, by making money through working, the student-workers can also accommodate their living expenses themselves in order not to rely on their parents just to fulfill their daily needs (Watanabe, 2005).

The second reason is to enrich experience and to help for future carrier (Choy, 2002). Young people usually like something which is challenging in order to enrich their experiences, so working comes up as the way to live it. A proverb says that “experience is the best teacher”; therefore, by experiencing something new, someone will face new challenges or new problems, but actually they will be able to make someone becomes more mature. This is what college students are looking for. World is complicated, accordingly, if college students could not adapt to that circumstance, they would not be able to survive. In the other words, by having a lot of experiences in various circumstances, people, including college students, will be easier to survive in their real lives (Riani, 2011). Thus, if someone has prepared for their future carrier earlier, it will help them to develop their entrepreneur senses (research by Mayasari and Pratama, 2010) and this is good because they can provide jobs for other people to decrease the number of unemployment then.

The third reason why college students take a job opportunity is that they are looking for a new situation. People will get bored if they do monotone activities every single day, won’t they? College students will either. Doing the similar activities; lecturing, doing assignments, going home; every day at the same place is so boring that they will look for another challenging one. For that reason, joining organization in campus and taking a job will be the options. Moreover, it is good for the college students to take a job which is appropriate to the skills they have because by working appropriately to their skills, they are actually trying to apply what they have got from their universities into the real life, so it will be helpful for gaining deeper understanding about their courses at the college (Choy, 2002).

Student-workers have some strong reasons to keep working instead of only concentrating on their studies, but their main duty is still to focus on their studies. Student-workers then can take a look at this case. This is about a young popular Indonesian singer named Vidi Aldiano. Although Vidi is very popular, not many people realize that Vidi is one of the public figures who still concerns on his study. Vidi is noted as a student of Universitas Pelita Harapan Jakarta, majoring electrical engineering ( In the middle of his tight schedule as a professional singer, he never forgets about his duty as a college student. He still makes time for a regular group discussion and attending classes. He even always gets more than 3.0 for his GPA (Grade Point Average) on each semester (Astuti, 2010) and on this his 4th year of study; he has already set a thesis proposal. Overall, Vidi can be considered as one of the student-worker icons who succeeds managing his time between working and studying.

In summary, there are three main reasons why student-workers bravely take risk to work instead of only focusing on their studies at the college. Those three reasons are to accommodate the tuition fee and living expenses, to enrich their experience, and to look for a new situation. However, college students are still a student. They have a main duty to focus on their study because it is the actual purpose why they decide to go to the college. Student-workers should be able to manage their time and their priority scales. Working cannot be the reason not to focus on their study at the college. As the time goes by, the student-workers may feel more tired because of running both studying and working together, but it is the consequence which they must deal with. In short, the balancing between both studying and working is definitely needed. As long as the student-workers have a commitment on them, the student-workers will enjoy those activities easily.

Wantri Fajar Pratiwi



20 year-old girl.


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