Students juggle careers, schoolwork

By Emily Alexander
On October 18, 2012

Throughout the last decade, studies show a significant increase in the amount of college students who work.

The art of time management is one of the most difficult skills for college students to acquire. For ASU students, balancing multiple work hours and credit hours with their personal lives can be a struggle.
A study completed in 2007 by author Lauren Dundes revealed that 74 percent of undergraduates worked an average of 25.5 hours per week while going to school in comparison to a study commissioned by Upromise in 2001 that found that 49-57 percent of college students had jobs.

ASU is no exception to the increase. Many students take several hours and have multiple jobs.

The National Center for Education Statistics found that students who work one to 15 hours per week have significantly higher grade point averages than both students working 16 or more hours and students who did not work at all.

Dundes and Mark, in a study in 2006, found that 74 percent of student workers believed that employment forced them to become more efficient, Lonnie Williams, interim director of the Career Management Center, said. However, 64 percent reported that employment also increased their level of stress as reported in a study of BYU Employment Services.

Kayela Holland, a sophomore English major of El Dorado, works full-time at IHOP, is a full-time student and is a member of the Delta Zeta sorority.

I work 35 to 45 hours a week and am taking 17 credit hours, she said. Its pretty difficult. Most of the time my sleep schedule is very deprived. Sometimes my schoolwork suffers too. I just have to do it.

According to Holland, without her job, not only would she not be able to be in her sorority, but she would not be able to pay any of her bills.

My main expenses are my apartment, insurance on my apartment, electricity, water and cable bills, she said.

Williams highlighted many issues students encounter when balancing both school and work.

Some of the problems include students missing classes, being too tired to go to class, not resisting the opportunity to pick up more hours than they first agreed to work, and not devoting the proper time needed to their studies, Williams said. There is also an old saying: The more money you make, the more money you spend. This leads to the need to make even more money so you pick up more hours, which becomes a detriment to the academic process, Williams said.

Quinton Marks, a sophomore graphic communications major of Prescott, doesnt find balancing his two jobs with school too difficult.

Im a CA (Community Assistant) at the Grove and a sales associate at the GAP. Its really easy to me, he said. I stay pretty organized so its all routine. Im always planning ahead of time and making sure nothing clashes in my schedule. It can be stressful at times, but not usually.

Marks works 20 hours per week at the Grove and an additional 15 at Gap.

As far as my personal life goes, I work with a lot of my friends, and my roommates are really cool, so it all balances out somehow, Marks said. Its all about prioritizing and making sacrifices. I dont have to work two jobs, stay off campus or have a car. I choose to though.

ASU has implemented a work-study program for students who have to work, but also would like to stay on top of their classwork.

My advice for students seeking jobs is to try and find a position on campus. Supervisors on campus tend to be more understanding when it comes to your academic needs and the job may allow you time to study, Williams said.

He also said it will reduce the time and expense of working off campus. It will lock students into a flat number of hours per week, and they dont have to worry about it going past 20 hours per week.

Williams said most positions on campus are typically for office assistants where a student is assigned various types of work to perform within an office such as answering the telephone, running errands, or doing the same work as an administrative assistant on a smaller scale.

However, he also stressed that jobs on campus are not as plentiful as one might think. This semester, 232 students received work-study, and 211 out of that number are actually working, which is only about 2 percent of the student body.

Some departments report their need for part-time workers to the Career Management Center, while others advertise within their departments or just select students, Williams said.

Students can check with the Career Management Center to see what they have listed and also check with individual departments on their needs.

Williams said, Unless a student is on work-study, typically a department would have to pay a student from departmental funds. Most departments on this campus have not had increases in their supply budgets for many years, which would reduce their ability to hire students. We are severely limited with the number of students that can be awarded work-study funds.

Williams encouraged students to use the Career Management Centers services, which include assisting students in looking for positions, reviewing of resumes, mock interviews and providing career fairs for permanent, part-time work and graduate schools. This semester alone, the staff in the center has assisted 151 students in obtaining part-time work off-campus.

For more information visit the Career Management Centers website at

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