Your summers spent folding clothes or flipping burgers may not have been such a waste after all.

Beyond earning you some extra cash for your first car, those lousy summer jobs may mean big bucks in the future, a new study finds.

The study, conducted by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, followed 246,661 Canadians for a period of 10 years, beginning at age 15 and continuing until age 25.

High school and college students who worked up to 33 hours per school week or 43 hours in the summer had more success finding jobs and earned higher wages than students who went to camp, participated in educational programs, took unpaid internships or did nothing at all.

Instead, flipping burgers may instill a work ethic found more desirable by future employers.

The results are a source of relief not only for those who spent their summers behind the counter at a Dairy Queen but for those who are unable to participate in unpaid internships.

Intern culture has been the subject of heated debate recently, as requiring unpaid-internship experience leaves the underprivileged at a clear disadvantage.

Students dependent on part-time jobs to get by need no longer feel envious of students able to enjoy their free-time or take part in unpaid internships.

Forfeiting free time and glamorous internships for a minimum-wage job, it ends up, may be the smartest decision for your future.

Thomas Freeman is Texas-transplant and aspiring journalist trying (but often failing) to navigate New York City. A current NYU student, Thomas also writes articles and manages media content for 20to30.

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