Is Work Or College Harder? A First Hand Look & Helpful Qs!

You often hear people yearning to go back to their days in university. But that doesn’t mean that college is easy. Neither is work, although many people live for their job! So how do they compare? And is work or college harder? Find out the truth below!

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Is Work Or College Harder?

The below table highlights the factors that make college and work challenging.

Work is harder if youCollege is harder if you
Work long hours or overtimePut in long hours
Dislike the work or find it challengingDislike college or find it challenging
Can’t get good jobsDislike your class or lecturers
Don’t get paid wellStruggle to afford college
Don’t like your colleagues or customersStruggle with self-discipline or deadlines
Have risks associated with your jobHave long commutesor live far away from home

On the surface, there are many similarities between work and college. But when you dig a bit deeper, you’ll find they can be some nuances which can either make or break your tolerance for college or work. What are those nuances? Well, read on to find out and learn how each of these could impact on you!

Research has shown that the more education you have, the happier and healthier you are likely to be. Source

Is Work Or College Harder? - College grounds photo

Work is harder if you:

Work long hours or overtime

Most work will fall in between part-time and full-time employment. This could equate to a 9 – 5 job, fixed or flexible hours. Hours of work may be unsociable or shift work which can impact on your social and personal life, as well as your sleep and wellbeing.

You may be required to work overtime or put in long hours during busy periods as well.

In addition to that, if you don’t turn up on time, you may get docked pay or receive a warning.

With college, hours are regular and sociable hours. If you don’t turn up on time, a lecturer might not even notice, or it may be deducted from marks towards your attendance.

On the other hand, some people thrive off work and need that stimulation to feel happier.

Ask yourself: Are you willing to work overtime, nights or shift work?

Tip: Compressed work weeks, such as a 4 day work week, allow full time workers to perform their work in a shorter week, which could equate to less hours and more free time.

Dislike the work or find it challenging

Work can be challenging from multiple standpoints, whether it’s physical, mental, emotional etc. If you have limited education, you may be in a menial role or one which may require a lot of monotonous or manual labor.

A study of workers showed that 85% of them are unhappy in their job.

If you’re working with difficult colleagues or managers, they may make life difficult for you and pawn off the jobs they dislike onto you.

Fortunately, a job isn’t really for life anymore which means if you dislike your work, you can move on.

Ask yourself: What aspects do you like and dislike about your job? Can you change them or move job?

Can’t get good jobs

Obtaining good jobs while in college or just finished college is often a challenge. Often, people find themselves waiting on tables, working on tills, cleaning or working in factories.

If you don’t have further education, you will struggle to secure the superior roles without experience or training for the job.

You will either need to build up your experience or attend the necessary course if you want to progress.

This may also be some incentive to encourage you to stay in college!

Ask yourself: Will the jobs I want to work on in future be impacted by my grades?

Don’t get paid well

A consequence of not being able to get good jobs is that they typically don’t pay very well. You’ll probably be on minimum wage or thereabouts. If your fortunate enough to be in a job that requires tips, you may be able to elevate your earnings this way.

Regardless of the job you are in, if you don’t feel you’re being paid fairly for the work you’re completing, it will be demotivating. Plus, being on a lower wage makes life more difficult too.

 A substantial difference between work v study is income. At least with work, you’re getting paid.

Ask yourself: Could you request a pay rise or would switching job be worth it for an increase in pay?

Don’t like your colleagues or customers

We all come across people we don’t see particularly like. It could range from problematic staff members or awkward customers who complain or make your life difficult.

If you’re working near to these people on a regular basis or numerous people you dislike during the day, it’s probable that your day will be more challenging and exhausting.

If these people degrade or harass you frequently, you’ll probably dread dealing with them and coming to work even more.

Working with people can often be more difficult than studying next to them. With work, you often have to rely on colleagues completing their work or else you may be left picking up the pieces.

Ask yourself: Can you change your attitude or how you interact with these people?

Related: The Truth About Working In An Office

Have risks associated with your job

Every job has risk and implications. Generally, the higher you are paid, the higher the risks or implications of the job can be.

If something goes wrong, you could be fired or jailed. If your job puts your health and safety at risk and you get injured, it can have a profound impact on your life.

Working on farms, in factories with heavy duty equipment and machinery or in the military are just a few examples of jobs where risks to health and safety reside.

Desk-based roles can have different repercussions, often related to legislation or compliance with regulations. The liability tends to rise as you climb the corporate ladder.

At least with college, the worst outcome will typically be that you could fail your exams

College is harder if you:

Put in long hours

With college, there will be classes that you’ll need to attend. Additionally, there will be requirements for projects and study to be completed. The course you opt for will dictate how many hours of lectures there will be and how heavy-loaded the assignments will be.

Usually, the first year of university is less intense than the other years; this means you can have more fun, socialize and make new friends. That’s not something you’d be doing during work!

Fitting study in for the important years usually means other activities need to be sacrificed; this includes your social life, family time, lie ins etc.

Putting your head down can be isolating and difficult, particularly when leading up to deadlines and exams. That said, it’s usually short-lived so there is an end in sight.

Uni will be harder if you don’t like books or studying; at least with work, you might have to do the odd course and you’re done.

In contrast, the beauty of many jobs is that you can walk out at the end of the day and be done with it.

Studying will be made more enjoyable if you have a good desk setup, a nice comfy chair and proper storage. If you’re looking for top quality items, my recommendation is check out Office Furniture 2 Go affordable furniture with a lifetime guarantee

Ask yourself: Are you studying in the most effective way?How can you optimize your time?

Related: Is Full Time Work Hard? – 10 Factors To Consider!

Dislike college or find it challenging

There are a large range of elements that make people dislike college. It’s a whole new lifestyle adjustment, especially if you’re also moving out of home for the first time. You may not know anyone going there and find it daunting to make new friends.

It could also be that they struggle with the content, prefer hands-on or other types of learning styles.

Some modules will be more demanding than others. We all have classes that we struggle at. Similarly, if you are working on a group project, you may find it challenging working in a team or with particular people on your team.

You may even know the route you want to go down in the future and have less interest in certain topics because they will have no use.

In comparison to work, you’ll be attending college or university for about 3 – 10 years. With work, if you don’t enjoy the job, you can move on and hopefully find one you prefer.

Fortunately, college breaks for the summer, and there are other weeks off throughout the year too, which shortens the year down to about 180 days.

Ask yourself: What classes do you dislike? Can you change it or seek help on those?

Tip: Attending grinds and seeking assistance from the lecturer can aid your grasp of the topic.

Dislike your class or teachers

In college, you’re interacting with people for a good portion of the day. For quieter students or people who struggle to make friends, this is often the most challenging aspect of college.

Some students simply don’t like their classmates and even get bullied or picked on.

Additionally, if you don’t get on with lecturers, you will find some classes more dreadful.

Fortunately, there is a huge pool of people in university along with societies and clubs. You’re bound to find a group that suits you and make friends along the way!

Ask yourself: Can you make friends by joining clubs or societies?

Struggle to afford college

The price of further education is a cost that a lot of people either can’t afford or struggle with paying. Many students take on a part-time job to try and ease the burden, but this isn’t always enough to cover everything.

Most people will have a substantial amount of debt to pay back after the course is completed. They may end up sacrificing food, heating and attending social events just to make ends meet.

Some people even try to work full-time and study part-time xxx as they have bills or dependents relying on their income.

Ask yourself: Are there any grants or student aid you can apply for?

Struggle with self-discipline or deadlines

Studying and completing assignments will require self-discipline to ensure you complete them on time, and you have enough knowledge to pass exams.

While you may have a schoolteacher hounding you for homework, you won’t have a lecturer standing over your shoulder pressurizing you to get these done.

To that end, it’s usually your own motivation that’s being relied on.

If you react better to a stronger level of accountability, which is often present in work, then you may struggle to get study done.

Ask yourself: Can you get an accountability partner (study buddy) or develop your self-discipline skills?

Have long commutes or live far away from home

College commutes can be rather long, especially if you’re waiting around for buses and have to get up early to get to lectures on time. This can consume a considerable portion of you time in your day.

If you’re on the public bus, you may have a longer ride home than if you could go directly to and from your house. This isn’t usually the case compared to public transport or commuting to work.

If you live far away from home or it’s your first time moving out, you will need to adjust to this as well as sharing a house or dorm room with strangers.

If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a car and live nearby, you could consider driving.

Ask yourself: How far of a commute would it be and how can I make it more enjoyable?

Recommended reading: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (link on Amazon)


Generally, most people prefer college over work.  That said, it will depend on your personal preferences and circumstances.

By asking yourselves the above questions, you’ll be able to better understand how challenging work or college would be for you and what to do about it!

If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on the world of work and study, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look. Some of them I guarantee you’ve probably never even heard of!

Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:

  1. Is Weekend Work Worth It? + Does It Pay Better?
  2. Is Full Time Work Hard? – 10 Factors To Consider!
  3. Casual Work v Part Time – 6 Remarkable Differences!
  4. Annualized Hours Explained – Helpful Tips & How It Works!
  5. How Unlimited Holidays Work – An Insider Guide + FAQs!

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  3. Sunny Portable Stand Up Elliptical
  4. Ergotron WorkFit-LX
  5. CoolMesh Pro Multi-Function Chair


With years of both professional and first-hand experience in office equipment and work settings, I now want to help you avoid making mistakes that countless others do. Whether you're studying or working from home, this site will help you create the ultimate haven for working safely, comfortably and productively in!

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