“The real world is a big change, more than you can ever imagine when you are sitting in the class room thinking about the outside world.”[1] This very statement is a typical example of a college student dilema. A dilema is a situation necessitating a choice between two equal, especially undesirable, alternatives[2].

In the light of the above, the first section of this essay will discuss the advantages and challenges of studying and what motivates student to work?

The second section will consider Nigeria as a case study in determining why college students find themselves in this Dilemma.

The third section will use Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg as a case study in determining if college is all about study or if work should be inclusive.

In the final section I will state my conclusion and recommendations.

To begin with, what are the advantages and challenges of studying?

Study can be defined as the devotion of time and attention to gaining knowledge of an academic subject, especially by means of books.[3] It develops and re-orientates student. The basic advantage of studying is that it increases knowledge and it facilitates a secured future

However, due to individual differences, challenges do arise in this regard which includes: Financial constraint as regards payment of tution fee and the use of drugs by some students to cope with stress. A research conducted revealed that “Twelve percent of students admitted were using performance-enhancing drugs to help them cope with academic stress.”[4]To circumvent these challenges some college students have resorted to picking up a part time work, while for others, they put in more time and effort to develop their area of interest.

The motivation for students to work stems from a number of factors which includes:

Priotizing of college students with working experience by employers as a result of the volume such experience impute in their resume. In an associated Press article, reporter Emily Fredrix quotes Philip D. Gardner, research director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute, as saying that internship experience is “just one of those things you have to have before employers will even consider looking at your resume.”[5] Furthermore, it offers an opportunity to make some money. Lastly, it helps to build confidence, develop good interpersonal skills, develop organizational and multi tasking skills. Among other values.

Secondly, I will consider Nigeria as a case study to determine why college students in Nigeria find themselves in this dilema?

In Nigeria, the reason why most people go to a college is to secure their future; it is presumed that a college education will ensure some form of job security and to stand a chance in the international market, since, “Being black, one is already at a disadvantage.”[6] Also, people study in Nigeria to meet up with family expectations: Oluyinka Olutoye put it this way “the typical saying in a Nigerian household is that the best inheritance that a parent can give his children is not jewelry or cash or material things, it is a good education,” he said.[7]

On the otherhand, students work in Nigeria in other to make ends meet as it relates to those who are financially disadvantaged. For example, at the inception of this write-up the writer has two part time jobs that he does alongside his law education. These are borne out of the necessity placed on a work experience by employers and the need to meet ends meet. While other students work to improve their CV profiling, to abstain from idleness during their leisure period and to improve on their skills.

Lastly, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg will be used as a case study in determining if college is all about study or if work should be inclusive.

In the words of Bill Gates, he said “although I dropped out of college and got lucky pursuing a career in software, getting a degree is a much surer path to success,” he said.[8] From this statement, it can be deduced that as important as studying in college is, the discovery of ones purpose and its pursuit is of utmost importance likewise.

In the words of Mark Zukerburg he said, “I remember really vividly, you know, having pizza with my friends a day or two after I opened up the first version of faceboook at the time I thought, “You know, someone needs to build a service like this for the world. But I just never thought that we’d be the ones to help do it. And I think a lot of what it comes down to is we just cared more.”[9]  Clearly from Mark statement, it can be imputed that it is important for us to set out to do positive things that we have passion for while pursuing our academic career.

Conclusion and Recommedation

In conclusion, there is no iron clad rule. Maintaining a job or developing one’s passion while in school might not be adaptable to everyone. A more organized person may find it easy to balance both work and study, while another who really needs to concentrate to do well in his study might find having a job too difficult to cope with. In a nut shell, college student should think twice before taking a job and when we take it, we must not ignore our basic duty of studying.

The effect of a student dilema as to the choice of study or work while still in the college cannot be over emphasized, however my recommendation is that a student must not be confined to studies alone while still in college but, must be able to balance work and study excellently to produce brilliant results in both.

Olanrewaju Arilomo | April 25, 2017


[1] Dr. Randall S. Hansen & Dr. Katherine Hansen (Making a Successful Transition from College to Career: Time for a Reality Check 2015) < http://www.quintcareers.com/college-to-career.html> viewed 23rd September 2015

[2] Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, HarperCollins Publishers (2003)

[3] Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

[4] Sadie Blood (College Students struggle with exam stress and anxiety May 19, 2015) <http://universe.byu.edu/2015/05/19/college-students-struggle-with-exam-stress-and-anxiety/> accessed 24th September 2015

[5] Dr. Katherine Hansen, [College Stuidents: You Simply Must Do an Internship(Better Yet: Multiple Internships) 2015]< http://www.quintcareers.com/internship_importance.html> accessed 24th September 2015

[6] Leslie Casimir (Data show Nigerians the most educated in the U.S, Houston Chronicle Tuesday May 20, 2008)<http://www.chron.com/news/article/Data-show-Nigerians-the-most-educated-in-the-U-S-1600808.php> accessed 23rd September 2015

[7] Ibid

[8] Emily Jane Fox (Bill Gates, world’s richest college dropout, says stay in school, 2012) <http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/03/pf/college/bill-gates-college-dropout/> accessed 24th September 2015

[9] Wikipedia the free encyclopedia (2015) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Zuckerberg> accessed 24th September 2015


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