College student’s difficulties of balancing work and school

Photo by Kenneth Ryan/Collegian: HutchCC student Tanner Trezise tends to some plants at his job, The Home Depot

By Emily Branson / Staff writer

College can be expensive and time consuming. Between tuition, dorm costs, food costs or meal plans, and the general expenses of a college student, it can be hard to find a way to manage the bills without working 60 hours a week.

What some students could struggle with is how to find a job that not only works with their schedule, but is something worth their time. Having a job that you despise or comes with low pay will likely lead to greater problems than you started with.

While students are taking college classes, participating in extracurriculars, and balancing their schoolwork, it can be difficult to find a job that works around their schedule.

One option for students in need of a job would be working somewhere on campus. Student workers can apply for jobs, such as a digital accessibility assistant in Rimmer, or as a clerk in the Campus Store. The Campus Store offers jobs to students with the priority continuing to focus on students’ education.

Photo by KJ Ryan/Collegian: Selena Oronia, a HutchCC student, works at the Campus Store

“We work around your class schedule,” Amber Crick, Campus Store Manager, said. “We consider your education first and foremost.”

The benefit of working at the Campus Store, or somewhere else on HutchCC’s campus, would be that you are already at school for your classes. This means that you would not have to drive somewhere else to go to work. Student workers will make more connections with people on campus, which can later help them with job references or contacts outside of Hutchinson. Working at the Campus Store also adds the benefit of being eligible for a book scholarship for the eligible employees. Students can apply for a job at the Campus Store by visiting the Human Resources page under the Student Life tab on Hutchinson Community College’s website, where they can then click on the “job openings” option.

Another option for college students would be getting a job off campus. Doing this can give you more variety in job fields, different experience, and more connections. Working on campus only gives students a small variety of options for jobs, while working off campus gives limitless alternatives to gain job experience. From nursing to welding, and retail to food service, stepping outside of HutchCC, and even Hutchinson, will provide a surplus of job opportunities.

Jackie Long, Career Development Coordinator, is the base for many students that are searching for a job while in school.

“I am here to help with a lot of our resources around job search and getting ready for career jobs,” Long said. “I also help students with part time jobs.”

Using Long as a resource can be one of the most beneficial ways to find a job while in college.

Reilly Tobias, a Hutchinson freshman, is employed at Bold, a freight forwarding service. With a busy schedule, Tobias wanted a job that would provide flexibility and a positive work environment.

“The flexibility is great,” Tobias said. “If I need a day off, I ask about two days in advance and they let me off, no questions asked.”

For students, having a flexible schedule is one of the most important things. Most people will want to be able to finish their homework on time, get somewhat decent sleep, and somehow manage a social life. None of that would be possible without at least a little bit of understanding from bosses, coworkers, and companies. Providing a reasonably flexible schedule can encourage college students to continue to work through college.

At Bold, Tobias is appreciative of his boss, who is understanding of the life of a college student and the many events and deadlines that may come up.

“The main thing I look for in a place to work is a great boss,” Tobias said. “A boss who understands that you’re in college and that things come up, such as due dates or extra things that you will need off for.”

While working through college sounds like a great plan to many, determining just how much a student should work is another dilemma. Working too much can lead to stress, failing grades, and overall poor performance at work and school alike. Comparatively, not working enough hours can make it difficult to pay for the bills, tuition, and food on the table. Being able to find a healthy medium is key to being successful in both fields. 

Caitlyn Johnson, a Clearwater freshman, works at Carriage Crossing in Yoder. Johnson says she enjoys being able to only work three days a week, since she is heavily active on the HutchCC dance team.

“I only work about 15 hours a week,” Johnson said. “But based off of tips, I can be making pretty good money.”

Many student-athletes like Johnson will find it hard to have a job that provides good pay, flexible hours, and time off. Working as a waitress provides Johnson with the money she needs to make it through college and pay her bills, but allows enough time to be on the dance team and attend all of the sporting events.

While some student-athletes can find a balance between work and school, others would rather just focus on school. Choosing not to have a job while in college can be a smart option academically. You have more time to focus on homework and more time to enjoy college life. Not having a job could put you at risk financially, but it would open up your schedule for studying and keeping up with grades.

Out of all of these options, students need to be able to find something that works for them. Whether they are working on campus, off campus, a few hours a week, or none at all, each college student will be able to determine what is the best option for them. Each student has to take the amount of school work and extra-curriculars they are involved in into account when looking for a job. Keeping this in mind will provide them with the most beneficial and realistic job options for them.

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