The story of students working to pay their way through school may seem like a cliché. But in reality, it makes them some of the strongest people on campus. It’s not an easy task, but the ones who make it through successfully have the most appreciation for their accomplishments.
Many young adults don’t have the opportunity to attend college because of their financial situations, forcing them to work full-time and put their money toward their education.
“Coming out of high school, I knew my parents couldn’t afford college. I had to make the commitment to work as much as possible so that I could at least give myself a fighting chance to earn my degree.” said Aaliyah Powell, a third year student at Tallahassee Community College who works at H&M.
“It’s hard, I’m not going to lie. I have homework to do, but I have to work. I want to call out of work, but I have bills to pay. It’s a very conflicting situation,” Powell added.
The burden of being a full-time student can be overwhelming, but there are many students who tackle the challenge. More than 70 percent of college students work and over half of them work full-time positions, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
Tenia Judge, a sophomore at Florida A&M, who works at Charlotte Russe, said, “My education is what keeps me at my job. I would love to quit and enjoy life as a college student, but I honestly don’t have time for that. I have my moments where everything seems to be falling apart, like there’s not enough time in the day. I had to grow up really quick and force myself to realize that if I want to be successful, I have to work, no matter how many nights I go without sleep.”
According to Kelly Satterstrom, a psychology professor at St. Catherine University, students who work full-time on average get about four to seven and a half hours of sleep. As the amount of hours worked per week increase, stress levels increase as well.
Also, as the amount of hours worked increase, the amount of hours spent sleeping decrease. The sleep and stress relationship can be a lose-lose situation.
Margie Huff, a store manager at Charlotte Russe, said, “I do my best to work with the schedules of students who work full-time. I know their work load is intense, so when I go about scheduling them for hours, I do my best to give them shifts where they are more at ease. I want to keep their stress levels as low as possible.”
Working while in college has become a normal situation. More now than ever, parents expect their children to work and help cover some of their living expenses.