Working While Studying: 18 Disadvantages/Downsides (Working Students…)

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

Trying to make ends meet as a student can be tough. In fact, it’s often downright grueling. If you’re already in college or university and are thinking about getting a job while studying, you might want to think twice before jumping right in. As it turns out, the pink-cloud effect of having extra money while studying wears off pretty quickly, especially when you start experiencing the disadvantages and downsides. 

According to the American Association of University Professors, about 50% of all full-time college students in America are employed. Most students have the same reasons for working while studying. These include earning money, getting work experience, learning about money management, and having ultimate independence from their parents (to name a few). While these perks initially seem intriguing and even quite attractive, it’s the possible disadvantages that scare a large number of students off working while studying.  

For students who are highly driven and organized, having a job while studying may seem like a breeze, but even these people can eventually crack under pressure. Let’s delve into 18 disadvantages of working while studying below. 

18 reasons why working while studying might be a bad idea:

1. You may need a longer time to complete your studies.

Students who choose to work and study often opt for part-time or extended-length courses in order to manage both at the same time. This isn’t ideal as it means it will take longer for you to become qualified, but if you have no other financial support than your own, you might have no choice. 

2. If you are academically competitive, you may fall behind the other class leaders.

If you have to work while you study, you need to keep in mind that you won’t have as much time to study and obsess over your course as the leading academics do. This could become very frustrating and cause either your studies or your work to suffer. 

3. You may be left out of social events because you spend most of your free time at work.

Students working in their spare time rarely have time for parties, social gatherings, and networking events. You may find yourself suffering serious FOMO (fear of missing out) or simply never being invited to parties because you are usually unavailable. 

4. There will be less time to study.

If you’re heading off to work after your classes, there’s going to be far less time to study for tests and exams. You are going to have to work harder to keep up with your studies.

5. You may feel as if you have had to grow up too soon.

Having a job while studying is all about responsibility, and you can expect your employer to treat you like an adult and hold you accountable for your behavior, actions, and performance. Having to show up and give your best at work and at college can have a negative impact on your life enjoyment. You may end up feeling as if you have been forced to grow up and be responsible too soon in life. 

6. You miss out on the party lifestyle of college. 

A large part of the college experience is the parties and the socializing. It is at college or university that you meet most of your lifelong friends. The only problem is that when you’re working in your free time, you miss out on this experience completely. You may even go into your adult life with minimal friends

7. Less opportunity for face-to-face networking at course-related events.

Many courses hold events and socials to get peers in the same career paths to network and work together better. If you are always working, you are going to miss out on a lot of these. 

8. You will have no time for university/college activities.

Ever wanted to join the college football team or the chess club? Well, when there’s a job to go to after classes, you can forget about being able to make it to practices and meet-ups. Your activities schedule is bound to be very limited. 

9. You will need to develop strong self-discipline to stick to your schedule.

Working and studying at the same time requires an accurately calculated schedule that is strictly stuck to. In order to do this, you have to develop immense self-discipline. Are you the type of person who is self-motivated, or do you need supervision? If you need supervision, having a job while studying is going to prove very challenging. 

10. Increased stress levels will be the new norm.

Studying comes with its stresses. You have to get all that knowledge into your head, show up for classes, study for tests, and do well. Your job will also be demanding of you, and expect you to show up consistently and always do your best. The result? Increased stress levels!

11. You may feel exhausted regularly.

Working and studying at the same time is a full-body workout! Your brain is going to be tired as well as your body. If you’re prone to feeling tired, get used to it because working while studying could result in many days and evenings of total exhaustion. 

12. Exercise and self-care may slip down the list of priorities. 

Who has time for a jog or to shave their legs when there’s studying and a job to do? Chances are that the importance of exercising and self-care is going to slip if your time is dominated by studies and work. With time, this could have a negative impact on your confidence and self-image.

13. You may not fit in with your peers.

Chances are that many of your peers won’t be working while studying, and because of that, they are experiencing life in a completely different way. You may find that you don’t fit in with many of your peers because you are on totally different paths. You have a firmer grasp of responsibility while it seems like your peers are just having fun. This could lead to depression and self-esteem issues. 

14. There will be little time for friendships and relationships.

Most people make their best friends and even meet the love of their life in college/university. Chances are that you will miss out on this opportunity if you are constantly studying and working. There simply won’t be enough time to spend with friends or someone special. 

15. It could rob you of good grades.

Working and studying at the same time could result in you spreading yourself too thin. Juggling work and university responsibility could cause your grades to suffer as well as your work commitments. In the end, you don’t fully apply yourself to either – it’s a lose-lose situation. 

16. You won’t be able to fully immerse yourself in the college experience.

The demands and expectations of the working world leave no room for the frivolity of college or university life. If you want to have an authentic college experience, focus purely on immersing yourself in it. Working while studying will undoubtedly take away some of that experience. 

17. Time spent with family may become very limited.

It’s not just friendships and a possible relationship that you might miss out on when working and studying at the same time. When your time is already dedicated to two demanding areas, you can expect to have very limited time to spend with family. This becomes even more limited if you study and work in a different city or state to where your family lives. 

18. You may become severely distracted from your studies. 

If you happen to thrive in the work environment and start climbing the ranks, you may mistakenly believe that you don’t need to study, or you might start placing less importance on it. Your qualifications are important for your future endeavors, not just your current ones, so be wary of this.

In short 

Working and studying at the same time seems very grown up and will certainly provide you with a bit of extra money to afford the things you need without having to struggle through. That being said, do these perks really make up for all of the possible disadvantages you are going to be faced with? Give it some thought, and then you decide.

JC Franco

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.