University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Problems of the Working College Student
I work thrity-five hours a week at a warehouse in Ontario California. When I first registered for college classes, I figured college would be fairly easy to fit into my schedule. After all, I thought, college students are not in class all day, like high school students are. So, I assumed the twelve hours a week I’d spend in class wouldn’t be too much of a load. But I was in for a big surprise. My first semester at college showed me that students who work while going to college face problems at school, at work, and at home.
First of all, students who try to juggle job and school responsibilities find trouble at school. Early morning classes, for example, are particularly difficult for me. Because I work every week night from six to midnight, I don’t get home until 1:00 a. m. , and I can’t fall asleep until 2:00 a. m. or later. Consequently, I am too tired to pay attention in my eight o’clock class. Once, I even fell asleep in that class and my Professor asked me to leave for the day. Not only was this an embarrassment for myself, but it also cost me to miss the day’s assignment not to mention being marked as absent for the day.
Sometimes student’s work hours create other conflicts. For instance in my experience they cut into my study time, so I have little time to do all the assigned reading and homework. I get behind in the assignments, and I never seem to have enough time to catch up. As a result, my grades are not as good as they could be. To avoid these kind of experience’s students have to be organized, and have time management or they may get overwhelm in their daily schedule. Because students both work and go to school, they can have problems doing well with their education.
But work can also suffer when workers attend college. Students can bring school into the work place. I’ve been guilty of this practice and have paid the price. One night I tried to study at work, but my supervisor caught me reading my college textbook at my work station this was a problem, and after the supervisor asked me to put my book away and get back to work I was reprimanded, and now my supervisor doesn’t trust me. Sometimes students come to work very tired, which is another problem.
For example when I don’t get enough sleep I can become rude to fellow co-workers, and then the rudeness can get me into trouble. I remember one particular time a co-worker reported me because I was sarcastic to her. She had spent a half hour complaining about my job performance and I had been too tired to be patient and I lost my temper. Once again, my supervisor reprimanded me and I was asked to leave for the night. Another time, school interfered with my job when I had to leave work early to take a make-up test at school.
I know my supervisor was unhappy with me then, too. Arranging a schedule that will fit the needs of schooling is a solution to combat this problem. Working college students can also suffer outside of classes and the workplace. For example my schedule illustrates the conflicts of trying to take on too many duties. Since I work nights during the week, the weekends are a more convenient time that I can study. Because I have to use my weekends to do school work, I can’t do other things. My apartment is a mess since I have no time to clean it.
Worse, my girlfriend is threatening to leave me because I have no social life. We never even go out like we once used to now when she comes over, I am too busy studying. However the rewards of earning a college degree in this economy can be the difference between having a job and having a career. Students who have sacrificed their time with hard work and determination are more likely to earn that degree. Students, who have responsibilities at home, work and college can face a cycle of stress. For example, I am constantly racing around trying to manage my time, and I can’t break the cycle.
I want a college education, and I must have a job to pay my tuition and living expenses. The only way students can manage is to learn to manage their time. For example after speaking with my supervisor about the quest for a higher education he understands my situation and has rearranged a work schedule to fit the needs of my schooling. Now in my third semester at college, I’ve realized that working students have to be very organized to cope with the responsibilities of college, work, and home.