As the start of fall term quickly approaches, I need to figure out whether or not I should quit my retail job or possibly go from full time to part time. Since I’ll be getting a stipend (one that I can live entirely off of), any money I would make would ideally go to my student loans.
Technically, according to my school’s graduate student handbook, I can have outside employment. However, the tone of the handbook sounds like this is not encouraged and it seems like outside work is generally disapproved of in academia.
Can I handle the additional work load on top of TAing and school? I don’t know, possibly. In a perfect world, I would work just one 8 hour shift a week. Right now that doesn’t seem like a huge chunk of time out of my week. Also, my department seems to go by the work hard play hard mantra. I know several students that spend a lot of time doing hobbies like body building or triathlon/marathon training (I know, my dept is really athletic). So I think I could get away with working without people noticing. Also, if working my retail job proves to be too much, I can just quit.
I am seriously leaning towards keeping my job. I know I’m pretty lucky to have a stipend, but having over $57k in loans sometimes feels overwhelming, and I feel like I should do everything in my power to pay them off. Whatever decision I make, I need to do it soon. The window where I can change my hours at my retail job is the last week of July.
Graduate students: what would you do? Would you work outside of academia? Could you handle the additional workload? Is the trade-off of your spare time for money a fair one? Advisers: would you approve of this?