5 Reasons You Need A Summer Retail Job Pre-College

If you're like me and have just emerged from the jaws of high school you're ready to bask in summer.

However, we can't get too comfy. We need money.

To remedy that, I decided to pick up a retail job at Urban Outfitters. In just a month, I've not only gained cash, but key life skills that will set me ahead in the fall.

Here are 5 reasons why you should pick up a retail job the summer before college.

​1. You'll learn to value money like a college student.​


Coming from a middle-class family, I didn't have to pinch pennies. I could easily spend $15 on lunch, or a shirt, without thinking too much.

However, when I started earning that much per hour of work, I started to purchase things more carefully. Now, before swiping my card, I ask myself: are you willing to work three hours to pay for that $45 Champion hoodie?

It has trained me to think monetarily like a college student with the safety net of home and family.

2. Working in retail forces you to learn essential communication skills.


Trust me, sometimes I wish we could just send each other messages in our heads and skip the dances and social cues.

Alas, life requires you to talk with other people. If you want to get your needs met, it's worth your time to sharpen your communication skills.

Retail is a great place to do so, because it's in your job description, and you have a better chance at earning a raise or promotion if you can connect verbally to those around you.

Moreover, you'll tackle college parties, meetings, and office hours with a voice-box that can articulate your thoughts and advocate for your needs.

3. Build your work ethic.


Much to my chagrin, my mother would always say, "there's no shortcut to hard work." Boy, I wish there was, but if you want to be successful, it's required.

A retail job can groom anyone (regardless of social class) into a hard worker. You're spending shifts carrying large stacks of clothes, boxes, or potatoes; you're learning complex handbooks and how to work that old register. It's tough.

Going into college, retail has forced me to do things I don't like, for a greater purpose. From what I've heard, that's 70% of the college experience.

4. Improve your time-management skills.


I have many friends who can't plan an hour ahead, much less a day. With a retail job, you'll have to balance your shifts with the things already going on in your life: driving siblings to summer camp, doctor's appointments, grocery runs, the occasional gym trip.

Unlike school, you won't get detention if you miss work: you'll simply get fired. This incentive is enough to whip you into a scheduling master, a skill key to navigating the busy college experience.

5. That degree will be your top priority.


If you're anything like me, college seems just like a natural progression of the average American adolescent's life. But after working retail for a month, my perspective has completely changed.

Retail is hard work, for very little money. I knew this intellectually, but after working long hours and dealing with horrible customers, I see the truth.

College is a gift, and that degree will enable me to find a life of comfort doing what I love.

I know that when I arrive at UCLA in the fall, I'll work tirelessly, knowing how hard a life sans college degree can be. Maybe if I hadn't worked retail, I'd never know—and you might not, either.

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