Butler balances school, work

FAMU student Shawn Butler. Photo courtesy Butler.

Shawn Butler, a junior at Florida A&M University majoring in mechanical engineering, knows all about battling to keep up with both school and work.

Butler, a native of Orlando, started his journey at FAMU in 2019. He is a full-time student as well as a part-time worker for Apple.

He’s also a part of the Big Brother Little Brother mentoring program that takes incoming freshmen and helps them matriculate from high school to college while also being a part of the TRIO Scholars Program that helps low-income students get through college.

“I used to be one of them low-income kids that came to FAMU with no idea how I would be paying for my school. That’s why I joined TRIOS so I could be able to help and guide kids just like me. I was truly blessed to receive over $30,000 in scholarships to maintain my head above water.”

“I tend to get work and school compiled together sometimes because the courses I take are very vigorous and require a lot of time and attention from me as do Apple,” Butler said. “I try to balance them by doing schoolwork in the mornings and afternoons before 5 p.m. because that’s when I start working for Apple. If I am not getting calls from customers, I will sneak in some homework so I can stay on track.’

“To overcome the challenges of my workload of school and work from clashing, I make sure I know what assignments will need to be done so I can request an extra day or two off work.”

A Georgetown University report shows that close to 70 percent of college students work while enrolled in college. Also, those who balance work and school may also go on to have higher earnings because they have larger, more developed resumes, according to social worker Daniel Doulas.

Throughout this semester, Butler is trying to be more balanced with his school and work so he can find a way to join more organizations on campus.

When Butler isn’t working for Apple or doing engineering homework, he likes to spend his time at the gun range and on the video game “Call of Duty.”

Caleb McClean thinks Butler is one of the hardest-working men he has ever met.

“Even with his busy schedule, he always finds a way to get things done regardless of the time and place,” McLean said. “He can spread himself too thin though trying to do everything which I know stresses him out, but he always manages to overcome it.”

McClean recently graduated from FAMU with a degree in information technology. He has been working for Ford remotely because of COVID-19, but this July he will be moving to Michigan to be working in person.

Darren Gibbs, a third-year architecture student from Atlanta, applauds Butler for his multitasking skills.

“Butler will be in Coleman library at work and doing an assignment building different tools for his class. I don’t know how he even has time or the focus to even do both at the same time. Customers will literally be on the line and Butler will be speaking with them and focused on another thing at the same time,” he said.