Blood, sweat and tears: the primary components of a college degree. Any student can relate to late night cram sessions and a dwindling social life due to a relentless dedication to their studies. However, a large number of non-traditional students must also work while attending school in order to support themselves.
As though classes were not stressful enough with aligning assignments and time consuming projects, work brings its own set of obstacles. Students need to work a substantial amount hours in order to pay their bills without sacrificing time allotted for their studies. Late nights and long hours of work can take a toll on anyone, so juggling multiple classes, a job, and other responsibilities can seem daunting when trying to excel in all areas.
However, students seem to find their own method of balancing work and school. Danette Valora, a student enrolled in a pre-nursing program explains her way of moderation. She has a set schedule of working from two in the afternoon until ten. This gives her the opportunity of going to school in the morning and completing the assignments before work. She finds that the consistency of her schedule helps her to keep a healthy balance between the two.
Olivia Ruddisil, a server at Lyndon Diner, says otherwise. She says that she “just flies by the seat of her pants.” She, like many, have an apartment that she shares with a roommate. When it comes to a strategy for balancing both, she admits that sometimes there is not much structure to it. She just tries as hard as she can and hopes that everything aligns.
On top of obvious responsibilities, there are also other important obligations students must factor into their schedule. Some of which include basic human needs, including physical and mental recuperation. Ismael Miranda, humanities major, says that sleep tends to be a trade-off in order to accomplish all that is required of him. He said that because of this, turning assignments in on time can be a struggle. HACC Lancaster campus’s tutoring center offers information to students struggling with time management. Some of their resources suggest using spare time, like riding the bus or waiting in line, to review materials and study for upcoming exams. They also suggest prioritizing projects, starting with the hardest assignment first. This helps students use their energy effectively, instead of getting twice as tired completing the same amount of work.
What is also not often addressed, are the sacrifices that students with children must make. Parents must work twice as much in order to support themselves as well as their their family, which leaves them with even less time for their school work. This is excluding extracurricular activities such as house work, sick days, playdates, and all of the other unofficial duties of a parent. Those with multiple mouths to feed, feel the pressure of being able to support those they love while also trying to better themselves in school. The line between excelling and overworking can be grey and hard to distinguish at times.
Working to survive while attending school to succeed sounds exhausting, although there can be rewarding benefits of doing both. Ruddisil says that she values her independence of living on her own while putting herself through school. Valora concurs with her, stating that working while in school gives someone a good work ethic and makes you “fight for what you really want.” Hard work builds character and most students seem to agree that although it is not easy to balance work and school, there are undeniable benefits to doing both.