Juggling college and work!

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College has been referred to as one of “the best times of your life.” Parents, teachers, and adults all get so excited for young teens when they know they’re off to experience this new journey.  College is full of new friendships, new relationships, new experiences, and a great time to work towards the career of your dreams.  Unfortunately, this college experience comes with a cost.  College is not something for everyone whether it is financial problems or other personnel reasons, but there are some who know they are destined for great things and choose to go against all the odds and attend college no matter the challenges they may face.  To help avoid these challenges, these students sometimes to help ease their situation may take up a job while attending college.

Having a job while at college may sound like a great idea. You are able to gain some work experience as you are able to put away some extra money in your pocket. Though this may be the case for some, for others it is an immense struggle to hold a job on campus and be successful in your classes at school.

When considering a job while attending college you need to ask yourself a few things. Do you have the time for this job? Will this job affect your school work? What job would work best with my schedule? Etc.  Time management comes into play when having a job on campus. “College is one of the best times of your life”, but when you are working 20+ hours a week to pay your housing bills, apartment bills, college tuition, car payments, etc. it is hard to be able to sit back and relax when there is so much on your plate. With time management those who work need to take into consideration their job hours, class time, studying hours, a chance to eat, sleep, shower, a chance to engage with friends, other clubs or extracurricular activities, etc.  Brian Shaw, a graduate student, is at Bloomsburg to earn his masters in exercise science.

“I am absolutely broke but I am here at Bloom on my own paying my own bills and I need some sort of income. It sucks though because with studying and side projects for professors I really can’t find time for myself or my relationship with my girlfriend.”

Shaw had currently landed a position at Bloomin Bagel, a local bagel shop down town.  Shaw applied for jobs back in September and just now in November got a position.

“I was really starting to panic there for a while because I was just so desperate for a job.  Obviously Bloomin Bagels isn’t my ideal job but man, I just need some income. I am really happy though that I am working again.” Though Shaw is only making minimum wage, in his situation any sort of pay will suffice and he is now capable to get on top of his bills.

Meg Alexander, a senior graduating in the spring, says she wants to work here at school for some extra money but can not land an off campus job. Originally from New Jersey, Meg has always had a lot on her plate and enjoys a busy life.

“All through high school I was juggling school work and a job so not having a job here at college feels weird for me. I kind of like that feeling of always having something to do and being a part of many things.  Yes, I am busy here at Bloomsburg but I feel that I am capable of more and would like to work and be a full time student.”

Bloomsburg being a small college town does not have many opportunities for students to find jobs. Just like Shaw who struggled finding a job for so long, Alexander is dealing with the same issue.

“I have applied everywhere around Bloomsburg for a job,” Alexander said.  Even if I found a job and I only received a few hours a week or every two weeks I would take it because I would like to have that extra pocket change. I have been trying to get a job but no one is hiring because it is a college town and all the students here have already managed to get the open positions.  I see it as a first come first serve basis… students get a job and they keep it for years because it is so hard to find one and then when a job does open up it’s usually given to that student’s close friend they recommended or the first applicant sitting on top of the application forms.”

Bloomsburg University offers on campus jobs for students as well. Though there are limitations to the hours you need to work they can sometimes be convenient to students. Whether it be in the Kehr working at the information desk, working at the Husky Lounge, or something as simple as note taking there are always options for those looking for a little extra cash.

Ricky Hampton is a junior here at Bloomsburg and he works for the University through being a Community Assistant (CA).  A Community Assistant is a position here at Bloomsburg where you assist and introduce the college life to new students. You are seen as a ‘go to person’ with questions, concerns, and you even help create and promote on campus programs that will further involve students on campus.

“This job is great” Ricky says, “I am technically always working because residents can always come to me with concerns and what not but it is a more relaxed environment. I am able to hang out with my friends when I want, go to the library when I need to, and all at the same time I do have to work desk shifts in my building (Elwell) and do other tasks for my job. It is a very structured job and not meant for everyone but for me it is just the perfect balance of work and play.”

The Community Assistant position (CA) does not get paid hourly as you would be paid at any other job. You are paid one lump sum and you get paid twice a month. So for example, if that lump sum is say, $2,000, that gets split into however many pay checks through the fall and spring semester. What is so great about Ricky’s job is the added bonus that his rooming fee is paid for in full here at the university.

“It is great knowing I am helping out my parents by having this job. Them not paying  for my room fee really makes me feel good especially knowing that extra $2,500 is getting put towards something else… my tuition bill!”

Holding a job at college can be very time consuming and may or may not as we have heard here, interfere with  students’ studies and other aspects of college.  Some parents like junior Nora Mowrey’s, don’t want Nora to hold a job at college solely for that purpose.

“My parents feel that college is a job itself. Being a student here at Bloom is my job, getting good grades is my job, and having those good grades now will get me the job I need after college to pay off all the time I have spent here.”

Mowrey’s parents pay her tuition, housing bills, meals, and books because they feel her main focus should be strictly school work. With a Speech Pathology major, low grades are not acceptable in her family. Having an on campus bank account, Mowrey has easy access to money that her parents provide her through there. Though she is not a big spender she knows that the resources and money are provided for her without having to work.

I guess it all depends on the type of person that you are and if you are mentally and physically prepared to handle both a college degree and a job. Yes, having a job while attending college can benefit you, but you need to base it upon your life style.  You need to take into consideration if you can handle this new responsibility on top of all others and will it affect your ability to maintain what you need to get your diploma. The benefits of a job at school can allow you to relax knowing you are contributing money towards your education and though it may be stressful sometimes it has allowed you to grow as a person, manage your time, and may have helped you financially.

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