Story by JaNae Williams - Photo by Bailey Bussell
With the cost of attending college continuing to rise and financial aid not always a reliable option, more and more students are taking on full-time jobs while being enrolled. For many, part-time employment simply does not provide enough income to fund a college education.
When students decide to pursue higher education, they are faced with the task of paying for tuition, books, fees and sometimes room and board along with other bills. With the federal minimum wage stagnant at $7.25 per hour since 2009, part-time employment, like many held in previous decades, does not cover the cost of living and education combined.
This lack of sufficient funding leads many students to the decision to work full-time at their jobs, while also enrolling in full-time coursework of 12 credit hours or more.
Being a full-time student or working full-time alone can be stressful, and when the two are combined, finding the balance between work and school can be a struggle.
Students looking for ways to avoid a sense of being overwhelmed can follow a few simple tips.
Plan Everything: Get a planner or find an app that works as a personal assistant and put everything down in writing. Having everything laid out can put things into perspective and help in staying on task. Taking advantage of the calendar app on most smartphones can help. Many of them include prioritizing tasks, event reminders and even the ability to invite others to the event/task. This can be especially helpful when it comes to group projects.
Know the Value of Your Education: Choosing to pursue an education is an investment in your future. Students should value that and look for an employer who does the same. Working for a company that places value in its employees and their desire to better themselves means they are more likely to be supportive and flexible regarding an employee’s needs as a student.
Prioritize for Success: If students know they need to spend more time on certain classes, then they have to plan to do so. Some classes will come much more easily than others; by getting the easiest assignments out of the way quickly, students can devote more quality time to more challenging tasks on their plates.
Time Management is Key: Staying on task can be difficult, and knowing deadlines are in the middle of the semester makes it easy to procrastinate on assignments. Inevitably, six more assignments, a paper, three midterms and the party of the semester will all come up at the same time, leaving students stressed. Many resort to pulling all-nighters and missing out on any semblance of a social life because they failed to complete their assignments ahead of time when they had the chance.
Accept Imperfection: Those who find themselves putting excessive pressure on themselves to be perfect may need to take a step back and re-evaluate their expectations. While wanting to achieve at a high level is admirable, obtainable and encouraged, adding to already high stress levels by expecting perfection is unrealistic. No student will be perfect 100 percent of the time. Accepting this and focusing instead on doing the best they can while maintaining adequate emotional, mental and physical health is a student’s best option for success. If a student needs help academically, Rose State offers tutoring at no cost through the Tutoring Center located in the Learning Resources Center.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: The level of stress that comes with walking the line between student and employee can begin to build up quickly. When stress leads to feelings of panic and increased anxiety levels, students should be aware of changes to their mental and emotional state and be willing to talk about them. Counseling and referral services like those offered through the Rose State Office of Special Services can provide a valuable outlet for students needing guidance.
Managing life as a full-time student with a full-time job is difficult, but not impossible. Students need only prepare themselves for the demands of that particular lifestyle. With proper planning, utilization of available resources and a solid support system, students who find themselves working their way through the university experience can find balance and achieve a rewarding and fulfilling educational journey. For more information on tutoring or counseling services at Rose State, visit the LRC or call 733-7370.