ollege is demanding for students. Try adding a job on top of it. According to a 2013 study conducted by Citigroup, 80 percent, four out of five students, balance a job while attending school. In today’s society, working while attending college is becoming essential to make it through the standard four years while pursuing a B.A.
The rising costs of a college education are forcing more and more students to work part-time, in some cases full-time, to cover costs including textbooks, housing, and tuition.The cost of tuition has surged an astonishing 42 percent in the past 10 years, according to studies at the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Maybe this is to blame for the high number of students who are employed while attending college.
Elle Steinman, a junior at West Chester University said, “As a college student, I babysit on the weekends in order to afford groceries, textbooks and other necessities I need while living on my own.” According to a 2014 study done by the College Board, students spend approximately $1,200 a year on textbooks and supplies. Many college students are in my predicament. Their parents are paying a majority of their college expenses, however, the remaining is left up to the student. Costs such as textbooks, groceries, etc. was the driving force behind me getting a part-time job on a golf course where I serve drinks and snacks to players.
My 15 hour week job presents a challenge in dealing with my studies. The pressure of coming home after a long day at work and having an exam the next day or homework due is much more added stress than I bargained for. I have found myself several times throughout my almost four years in college having to decide between sleep and finishing an assignment.Staying up all night to study or finish a homework assignment is not uncommon. Most professors have a strict late assignment policy in place which adds extra pressure to already overwhelmed students.
Another demanding element students must consider when working while attending college is the post-college job market. If students become too overwhelmed with working and can’t keep their grades up, it can result in a harder time finding a job due to the student’s lower grade point average. According to a 2013 study done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 67 percent of companies screened potential employees by their GPA. If a college student chooses not to get a job during their years at college, they may find a harder time paying off debt and loans after graduation. My mom, paying a majority of my tuition, has saved that money my entire life, in hopes it would be enough to cover my four years as an undergraduate.
In pursuing my part-time job at the golf course, I feel it will at least give me a jump start post graduation. Aside from using my part-time job money on college costs, I put as much as possible from a paycheck into my savings. It seems that the demands and pressure on a college student are coming from all angles. If you don’t work, it becomes more and more difficult to afford the rising costs of a college education. If you do work, balancing studies can be a real challenge for many students.
In the future, it’s important for faculty and administrators to better understand the stressful conditions students face.Many students would agree with me that it would not be fair to make certain exceptions for working students, however, I believe there are several different ways faculty at colleges could work together with the majority of students who are trying to balance a work and college life. The four years students are pursuing a B.A. can be four of the most demanding years of their lives. Even though it is up to each student whether to pursue a job while attending college, many students do not have a choice. Working while going to school is the new “normal.”
Elizabeth Angstadt is a student majoring in English. She can be reached at EA7557@wcupa.edu