Sat. Feb 4th, 2023

Photo credits: Paola Chaaya via Unsplash

At Wester Chester University, Dec. 17, which will mark the end of the fall 2022 semester, can’t come soon enough. Some of us will cross the finish line with arms raised, while others will just be all too happy to see the end. Winter break is a time to celebrate holidays, spend time with friends and family and rejuvenate after a long fall semester

… for some.

Many other students will remain at school or rush home to pick up shifts at part-time jobs at any possible moment during the break. For these students, it’s grind time.

Indeed.com recognizes winter break as an impeccable opportunity for college students to earn some cash during their time away from school by working as cashiers, servers, babysitters, etc. Money earned here will satisfy the spring semester’s financial demands like textbooks, rent, utilities, gasoline and, in some cases, tuition.

You have to respect the hustle of these students who have spent the last four months doing everything possible to satisfy the demands of their professors and obtain desirable grades in hopes to soon earn a degree that could ultimately bring about an end to their part-time employment struggles. 

While part-time work is necessary in our society, the progression narrative of going to college to earn a degree that will allow for the shedding a part-time job for full-time employment has been a point that has been belabored since high school. Now, students are returning to part-time jobs to grease the wheels for next semester’s spending demands.

Personally, I am arranging to assist my neighbor in his general contracting business back at home. In the warmer months, I work as a caddie at a high-end golf club that unfortunately closes when the members head south for the winter. Because I will be the only one at home after my sisters and parents return to work after their short holiday breaks, this job is the perfect way to fill my time and hopefully my pockets while classes are suspended.

With so many college students needing to work to make ends meet for the next semester, I can’t help but think about some of the best parts of college winter break that they might miss out on. If they’re staying at school, a big loss might be losing an opportunity to indulge in their favorite home-cooked meals or having to continue to long for a comfort that can only be satisfied by family members and pets at home. Students who return to work could miss meet-ups with fellow college friends that attend different universities as well as holiday festivities that might be tradition in their family. Think about how impactful missing these activities could be for someone who has already been away from home for the fall semester.

Pat Goldschmidt is a Kinesiology major at West Chester University who will return to work as a table busser at Limoncello West Chester, a position he occupied before the start of the fall semester.

“[My boss] was highly encouraging of me to come back whenever I please,” the 20-year-old sophomore said.

An invitation he is grateful for.

Goldschmidt is a goalie on WCU’s D1 club ice hockey team, an obligation that also demands his time. He identified some of the sacrifices that he is making by not returning home.

“I am going home for two weeks of the break so I will be able to have Christmas at home,” Goldschmidt said. “Since my family is moving, I have to get all my things together, so I will spend two weeks doing that. It would be nice to be home for all of winter break to spend the last few weeks that I can in my childhood home.”

Goldschmidt’s last three weeks of break will be spent on the ice and at Limoncello.

“I am not in any debt or financial struggle, but I would like to be in the ‘fun zone’ with my funds so that I am able to do fun activities with my friends and significant other,” he said. “The extra cash will allow me to make Christmas a little more special.”

Skyler Fries, a first-year Media and Culture major, will travel home to Douglasville, Pennsylvania where he will return to his job as host and dishwasher at Andy’s Peppers, a diner that he worked at in the summer.

“I wouldn’t say that I have to depend on the money, but it is nice that I have somewhere to make an income that I can use over the semester,” the 18-year-old said.

These examples are a testament to the reality of being a college student right now. Many students need to work to curb necessary spending during the upcoming semester. When everyone is wishing happy holidays and a restful break, think about how some students won’t be resting at all during this time and instead will be hard at work to ease some upcoming financial demands. During this break, when some friends can’t hang out because of work, respect their circumstances and understand how their financial demands might differ from yours.


John Iswalt is a senior Media and Culture major with a minor in Digital Marketing at West Chester University.

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