Balancing work and school obligations is challenging

by Karlene Sanchez, Staff Writer

To all the  college students with debt, bills to pay, a family to support or a general lack of financial stability, I know the struggle. 

By the struggle, I mean the juggle between school and work. 

The late nights serve as cruel reminders that there are not enough hours in the day. The thoughts of “I just need to get by” and “I need sleep” constantly run through the minds of working students.

A study conducted by Georgetown University’s Center on Education estimates 70% of college students work while attending school, and the number of working students is rising as college enrollment and tuition increases on the national level.

If you are, or know of, a working student, you know the struggle from the moment one wakes up to the time they sleep (if one is even lucky enough to sleep) to repeat it again the next day.

It’s crucial that while we are in college, we find a job that can understand and respect the fact that we are students. As students, we can not be overworked and sometimes we’ll need to step back from major work duties to maintain our focus on our education.

But that does not mean working while in school is always a bad thing.

The benefits to being a working student

Behavioral expert and business ethics lecturer Wendy Patrick said working while in school still enhances the abilities to meet deadlines, work under pressure and effectively structure time blocks. 

In addition, Patrick says working as a student helps to instill a sense of discipline, responsibility, structure and all elements that contribute to a successful life.

I used to be driven by working because it filled my life with those elements. I enjoyed the act of always doing. This included responsibilities at work and school and having to plan my days in advance to make sure everything that needed to get completed, got done. 

Yet, some days felt like there was no time to even breathe, and my well-being took a toll because it became too much to handle at once.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict an overload of assignments given the differences in workflow each week.

Signs that suggest you are overworking yourself

As a college student, a full-time job should not be your priority. 

Working a nine-to-five and being in college is outrageous because employers give little flexibility. These positions normally come with more responsibilities and will leave less time to focus on school assignments. 

Procrastinating on assignments, struggling with completing school work or worsening grades due to a job are all red flags.

If your well-being is at risk, you won’t be able to think or perform to the best of your ability, and if your grades are suffering, you need to align what’s most important for you now. 

If you find yourself struggling to juggle school and work, consider speaking to someone you are close to or seeking guidance from a counselor.

You should not have to feel obliged to stay in a place you aren’t happy or passionate about. 

Finding the right job for you

Student workers have the power to schedule out their days and responsibilities for the better, and they should take advantage of this.

Surely things can be much different when you choose a job that aligns with your core values and gives you a balance between school and work.

Luckily, the holiday hiring hustle is approaching. Therefore, if you need work, consider looking for a seasonal job that will bring you a balance between school and work. This will allow you to increase your working hours during your time off from school.

There are a vast amount of jobs hiring this holiday season for positions that many students most certainly are eligible for. 

There’s a job for almost anything out there, so consider a job that matches your personality, supports your ideas, is flexible and respects your time.  

Treat yourself to an environment that will not only pay you, but will bring you balance and peace while you are in college. 

Karlene Sanchez is a senior studying public relations. Follow her on Twitter @SanchezKarlene.