Students struggle to balance school and work

Cartoon by Michelle Phillips

Cartoon by Michelle Phillips

College students are the Wallendas of our age. They have to find balance or plunge into failure.

Many students need longer days and longer weeks to carve out enough time for classes, study and work. Most Southwestern College students fail, often because work overwhelms their lives.

Students should not need to choose between school and work. The choice should be school every time. Too many feel they do not have a choice. They help support their families by chipping in for rent, buying groceries and paying bills. Transportation is costly and public transportation to SWC is weak. Full-time students with 12 units or more likely prefer college to working, but are forced to find a job.

Twelve units equals 12 hours of class per week. Professors suggest a minimum of two hours study time for every hour of class. This adds up to 36 hours of school work a week, not counting group projects and study sessions with classmates. Travel time and sleep need to be factored in. Working class students have been balancing work and school for centuries, but finding flexible employment has become increasingly difficult. Helpful services like EOPS and Financial Aid are not enough to support a full-time student for the entirety of a semester. Financial aid is a long and convoluted trek, and some students cannot survive the wait.

Although it requires effort, students must take any time they have to apply for aid. EOPS, scholarships and grants can free up a lot of time. A few hours of writing personal statements for scholarship applications can pay off big and lessen the burden of working a time-eating job.

Local businesses profit greatly from SWC students and many businesses have responded in turn by hiring students.

SWC also has many student workers. Working on campus is convenient and preferable. It saves commute time and usually teaches transferable skills.

Hiring students benefits everyone. Employers can get intelligent people inexpensively. Our community wins when another person can stay in college.

Students dropping out for a dead end job is too common and very sad. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2013 31 percent of full-time students were part of the work force, compared to 73.8 for part timers.

Time is precious, especially for students. Employers should hire students whenever possible and work with their schedules. When the young adults of this community earn educations and degrees, our region benefits.

Working students are a reality. Everybody has a role to play. Help our community by helping our college students find the time to complete their studies and keep afloat.


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