Balancing work and study

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Torgersen Hall hosts both classrooms and facilities that many students work at such as Innovation Space, Student Software Distribution, and the IT Security Office. Photo: Ivan Wang

by Ivan Wang–

With the increasing cost of tuition, more and more students have begun working while simultaneously taking classes as a full-time student. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average price of tuition for 4-year institutions like Virginia Tech has only gone up every year, even after adjusting for inflation.

For some of those working, it is just for experience to put on a resume. For many others however, that is not the case. According to CNBC, students who work take on debt just as often on average as those who do not. It is no surprise that many of those who work while studying mainly do it out of necessity.

Summer Lawrence, a full-time student at Virginia Tech, works two separate part-time jobs. She works as both a cashier at Fire Grill and a child care provider at the Blacksburg Baptist Church.

“My main reason for working is to pay for my bills,” Lawrence said. “My parents have so much going on right now because of my dad’s accident this summer so I want to try and lessen the stress for them. I need the money to pay for rent, utilities, and other things that I need and want.”

Despite the necessity, students can only push themselves to do so much. “I should work more hours if I could because I need the money but I honestly don’t have the time or energy,” Lawrence adds. “I wish I could work less but that isn’t really an option for me.”

One common cliché for college students is that they can only pick two of the three essentials: grades, social life, and sleep. When adding a job to the mix, it only becomes much more difficult to balance. As most Virginia Tech students who work agree, having a job for the most part has not negatively impacted their grades. However, it still inevitably takes a slice out of both sleep and social life.

“Working hasn’t really affected my grades, but it has affected my productivity. I’m constantly tired so it is hard for me to keep my attention on certain things,” Lawrence said. “Because I have been working a lot, I’ve had to cancel plans with friends and haven’t been able to go to certain things, but I just see that as a part of growing up and somewhat adult-ing.”

Fortunately, according to the CNBC article, many employers recognize the difficulties that a student must overcome when balancing work and school. In addition, they recognize skills which those students develop, such as working under pressure and meeting deadlines.

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Click the Piktochart image to go to full infographic

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