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The Best Part-Time Job to Have While in College/University

Most young adults in college or university can collectively agree that working and taking on a full course load at school is not an easy task. Not only is work taking away from your study time and vice versa, but both also take away from your social life. It’s true that with proper time management and organization skills, it can be easier to maintain; however, what if there was a part-time job that could meet your social needs and allow you to make more than minimum wage?

Surprisingly, that job exists, and it does not require much skill. What is this incredible part-time job that sounds all too good to be true? That would be serving at a restaurant.

The general server starts at $12.45 an hour, which is less than the student minimum wage of $13.50 an hour. But think about how much you will be making in tips. For example, if you are working a minimum wage job making $14.35 an hour, a six-hour shift—including a 30-minute unpaid break—would make you around $80. That may sound good for a six-hour shift, but let’s see how much you could make as a server in less time.

So, pretend that you are working at an Italian restaurant and a party of four walks in. Each guest orders a drink, bringing their bill to approximately $35. Then they order a few appetizers; another $55. Their bill is now at $90, and they are ready for their main courses. Let us say each entrée averages out to $25, that’s another $100. While they wait for their dinner to arrive, they order another round of drinks, totalling their bill at around $225. On that bill alone, if you are tipped 15%, you make $33.75, or if they are generous, 20% would be $45.

Of course, sometimes there will be parties that do not tip as much or maybe not at all. But if you’re lucky, you may have guests tip above and beyond. If you are working a four-hour dinner shift—no reduction in pay for breaks—and you get four more tables with similar bills that only tip the 15%, you would be making around $55 an hour, making a total of $220 in four hours.  

How is that possible? If you have five tables tipping you $33.75, that is a total of $168.75 in tips, plus your hourly pay of $12.45.

I know this may seem like a lot of numbers, but surely it is evident that you can make more money in less time!

But what are the requirements? You must be at least 18 years old and have a valid smart serve. A smart serve certifies that you understand the law and the rules when serving alcohol. This certification can be completed online but only if you are above the age of 18. The only downside is that with no serving experience you might have to start as a host, busser, or bar-back for a minimum of one year. You also have to give a small percentage of your tips to the kitchen staff and bartender.

Then, just when it seems too good to be true, there is more. As previously stated, there are not many requirements, you are able to finish working in shorter hours and leave with more money than you normally would at another job. To top it all off, you are staying social your entire shift. You must talk to your tables and ensure they are receiving a friendly experience—the friendlier you are, the better tip you will end up with!

To reiterate what is above, most part-time jobs paying minimum wage may not require any previous experience, but serving as a student in college or university allows you to make more money in less time, which then allocates you with more opportunities to study. On top of that, the position itself is very socially demanding, therefore any social needs will be fulfilled!

Olivia Stanco

UWindsor '23

Hello my name is Olivia! I hope you love reading my articles just as much as I love writing them.
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