I wouldnt say its harder than a manual labor job, but depending on course of study it can be way harder than a real job. If your doing a STEM degree pretty much everyone I have ever talked to all agreed that real life was way easier then college. No late nights till 4am to get projects done to determine if you have to retake an entire class for another 6mo, no pressure of tests, reading through 3-5 classes worth of notes and homework trying to understand all the complicated subject matter every day, blah blah blah all the school stuff.
A job from a stem degree, you go in, do your 9-5, and leave (that is if you've chosen well, or maybe you really like what you do and want to work later which is fine to). IMHO its way less stress, way better hours, and you get great money for it instead of shelling out money