Like many college students, I work full-time during the summer, and although it is not always glamorous, and is sometimes hard to accept that I no longer have the option of spending all day doing as I please, I am grateful for my job and the lessons it’s taught me.
1. It has taught me respect.
I am surrounded by adults (well, older adults) who have worked full-time jobs for as long as (or longer than) I have been alive. These people work hard, without complaint and without recognition – for them, it is simply a part of their lives and what they do on a daily basis. But my limited exposure to the workforce has given me a great appreciation for their work ethic. It has especially given me a greater respect for my parents who have these jobs in addition to raising children.
2. My job has taught me perseverance.
I got a part-time position the summer before I started working full-time, but it was still a big transition to my first eight-hour shift. I was exhausted and wasn’t exactly thrilled by the thought of working for the rest of my life, but I realized that that was simply part of the adult world and something I would have to get used to. It got easier with time and my job became more enjoyable as I got used to the longer hours.
3. My job has taught me responsibility.
I have to be on time for work. I have to perform certain tasks when I’m there. I have to eat lunch within a certain amount of time. People expect things of me, and it is my job -- literally -- to come through. This has helped me to come through better in other areas of my life -- to balance my commitments, to meet deadlines, and so on. Furthermore, now that I’m making money for myself and able to pay for a lot of my own expenses, I’m learning (note: learning) how to keep a budget and sacrifice the things I want for the things I need.
4. It has taught me perspective.
We all know that we have to “get jobs” after we graduate, but there is nothing like having real-world experience to really drive home exactly what that means. A job is a long-term commitment, and I want that long-term commitment to be enjoyable, challenging, and fulfilling. Now, I’m under no illusions that jobs are always fun; sometimes, you have to go into work because that is what has to happen. But I do know the choices that I make now will influence the opportunities I will have in the future and my ability to choose the type of profession I want to go into. It is especially true of my schoolwork. As cliché as it sounds, it has really hit home to me that I am not entitled to my college education, and that it isn’t going to work magic for me -- if I want something out of it, I have to put something into it.
Do I sometimes wish I was in elementary school and could go the park or splash around in the pool all day during the summer? Sure. But would I trade in the valuable lessons that my job has taught me? I can honestly say no.