The Struggle Of Working While In College

The Struggle Of Working While In College

Not one, but two basically full-time commitments? Time to get committed to my planner.

I know many college students whose parents have given them the wonderful blessing of saying "college is your job" and providing them with the financial resources they need to solely focus on college. When they need money, they can ask their parents. Of course, their parents may not always oblige, but it's a blessing nonetheless. However, on the flip side of that, there are many college students who cannot rely on their parents to fund them while they get their degree, and for those of us in that situation, we work.

When it comes down to it, making enough money to pay your bills and buy yourself groceries ends up coming first most of the time, because...well...survival. This means that while other people are utilizing study groups, going out to eat together after class, and holing up in the library for days at a time, you're working. Whether it's going to work before classes or after, going in at early in the morning or getting off late at night, or spending the whole time at work on your feet, the extra time and effort that goes into being a working college student can be draining. Not to mention the feeling you get when you get your paycheck and watch it all disappear as you pay your bills for the month and buy essentials like groceries and toiletries. It makes it all seem like working so hard isn't worth it, especially when the work you do seems like it should merit much more compensation.

In terms of grades, it's much harder to maintain a good GPA when you're working. Many of us spend as much time at work or more than we spend in the classroom or studying. Time management can be a nightmare when you have to merge your school and work schedule seamlessly and leave time to do laundry, study, eat, shower, and commute. Thankfully, many students are able to find jobs that work around their school schedule, but even then things can come up that interfere with your carefully planned schedule. It's extremely hard to choose whether you're going to miss work or school when you have to do things like make a doctor's appointment; and even harder when you have no choice, when the event is scheduled by someone else. Sometimes we even have to choose to miss out a great scholastic opportunity or attending an important family event because missing that amount of work would completely ruin our budget for the month.

Although there are many pitfalls to working, there is a positive flip-side to all that hard work. When you walk into a job interview, and your resume shows four (or more) years of work experience, you'll likely be highly competitive against other applicants who may not have worked as much as you, or at all. Those who didn't have to work might have a high GPA, but it's likely that with a solid GPA and work experience you'll be more qualified. The skills and knowledge you gain through employment throughout college will make you a better candidate for jobs in the future, and if you look at it that way, it's just another part of your higher education, right?

Seriously though, working as a college student is hard, regardless of eventual payoff. The best part about working is the people you meet, whether it's customers or coworkers, and the networking you can do throughout those four years. Working means learning to be a part of a team, and the people you see everyday will hopefully become your friends, or you might even consider them to be as close as family. If you're lucky enough, that's what gets you through, and it may even make you miss your workplace once you leave.

All in all, I personally think college would have been completely different if I hadn't worked throughout. I have learned so many things from working while in college that are invaluable to me and will sick with me throughout my personal, academic, and corporate life. I know many others who feel the same, and although we all struggle, I know we will all be better for it in the end.

Cover Image Credit: Andy Beales

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.


So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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