All in a day's work 

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Unless you have generous parents or a scholarship, paying the bills doesn't come easy when you're in college. A distraction or not, finding a part-time job may be necessary. Here's a sampling of some of the best and worst jobs a college student could have:

Cream of the crop:

Waiter/Waitress: What any working college student really wants to have in hand at the end of a long shift is cold hard cash. Waiting tables is the supreme way to score large tips without wearing less clothing than you do to bed. So butter up the businessmen, compliment Grandma's fresh beehive hairdo, take back the linguini that was "too noodley," and then smile when that noisy family of 10 plops a couple fifties on the table.

Library assistant: One of the few college jobs that actually pays, lets you get your homework done, and is virtually stress-free. Other than finals week, most university libraries aren't exactly the busiest places around. Much of your time is spent sitting at the counter waiting for someone who has a question or needs to check out, allowing you some R & R to do pretty much anything that doesn't break the decibel meter. Listen to headphones, read a magazine, study or just snooze a little.

Delivery person: If you've got a car, you're luckier than many students in a lot of respects, but you've also got access to a laid-back job with flexible hours. Delivery drivers spend their days or nights driving around by themselves listening to the radio. Whereas most food-service positions come equipped with a tightwad, corporate-minded manager looking over your shoulder, pizza guys don't do ride-alongs, so you can loosen up a bit.

Resident assistant: For students in the real world, figuring out how to pay the rent is second only to tuition in terms of financial headaches. Housing is costly whether you live on campus or off, and you still need to feed yourself. Nearly all universities offer free room and board to students willing to watch over part of a campus housing facilities. Resident assistants live roommate-free in the university dorms and have a full meal plan without paying a cent. And don't worry about morphing into Big Brother. As long as no major incidents occur, the expectation is to let students do as they please.

Paid internship: If you're committed to a profession, many colleges and universities offer credit for students to spend at least one semester in an affiliated internship program that pays a salary. The sums aren't that hefty but you'll be getting valuable experience and prime opportunities for networking. You may be disappointed with the pay now, but it will lead to bigger things later on.

Bottom of the barrel:

Dining services worker: In this job you have to handle all the mystery foods that students are afraid to eat in the dining hall -- not to mention the general inconvenience and overall dorkiness of plastic gloves and a hairnet.

Health center attendant: Wiping fellow student's sweat off machines does not really scream fun, exciting job-with-a-future. Re-racking free weights isn't just tedious, it's also heavy and hard for anyone with a less-than-Arnold physique. Most of your co-workers will probably be meathead football players who will leave all the major work for you while they busy themselves with flexing.

Admissions office: Nothing about leading parents and prospective students on campus tours is fun. You will have to try and convince anxious parents that this college offers an education worth its six-figure price tag just when you are starting to doubt yourself.

You'll also have to field nervous questions from high-school seniors that are invariably laughable and stupid, except you can't laugh and you have to answer them.

Busboy: All the crappy parts of the restaurant business with minimum wage and none of the glamour.

University telemarketer: Imagine spending your evenings calling people you don't know and begging them for money you can't even spend. Whether you are calling alums or parents -- who are already annoyed about the last tuition check -- the job of getting donations for your school is both thankless and poorly paid.

-- Zach Ahmad and Lola Garcia


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