130 Balancing School and Work


One thing that became very apparent very quickly during my first year of college was the difficulty that arises from pursuing a college education with a part-time job. I decided to choose this topic because I felt that it would be useful to incoming freshman that might be considering working through their college years. With my resource, I hope to give a good idea of what to expect, and some tips to make the experience less stressful.

Due to technical difficulties and the wonderful collateral damage of COVID-19, I wasn’t able to record an in-person interview or an online interview. Instead, here are my subjects and their answers.

Student Interview:

  • What is your name, grade, on campus/commuter, and workplace?
    • o Gabe Fields, freshman, commuter, Pikeville Medical Center
  • Do you think where you work during college makes a difference in how stressful the work/school balance will be?
    • o I definitely think that where you work makes a difference in your stress level. Every job varies on how flexible the hours can be.
  • How difficult do you think balancing work and school your freshman year is? The years following?
    • o Balancing work and school is difficult but doable. You do not have as much free time, but it pays for itself.
  • What do you think is the most difficult part? The easiest part?
    • o The most difficult part is definitely time management. You have to stay on a strict schedule in order to succeed at both things. The easiest part for me is probably the productivity. Although having a job takes up a lot of my extra time, it keeps me busy and in a productive state.
  • What are some things you discovered that made the experience easier?
    • o The biggest thing I discovered to make the experience easier is reminders on my iPhone. I normally set reminders on when to study, do homework, and get ready for work. This helps me to keep a schedule and manage my time.
  • Are there any other comments, tips, or words of wisdom you’d like to provide?
    • o I would encourage everyone that can to work throughout college. It can be stressful at time, but it is worth it in the long run.

Staff interview:

  • What is your name and position?
    • o Megan Childress, Director of Student Success
  • Did you work any during your college experience?
    • o Yes, I worked with federal work study and even helped the chamber of commerce with hillbilly days.
  • Do you feel it’s important for students to work during their freshman year? What are its benefits and deficits?
    • o Yes and no, it can get very stressful at times, but this allows students to earn money and allows them to become more responsible and self-dependent.
  • What are some steps you believe students can take to ease some of the pressure surrounding their freshman year coupled with maintaining a job?
    • o Practicing time management first and foremost, but they also need to learn to make time for themselves and learn to ease the stress that is certain to come with work and class.
  • Are there any particular staff members that students can seek out regarding this issue?
    • o You can always go to your advisor or first year studies teacher, but really you can talk to anyone who works in student success.
  • Are there any other comments, tips, or words of wisdom you’d like to provide?
    • o The main thing is to learn how to manage your time and what works best for you to keep up and take care of everything you need while having time for sleeping, eating, and relaxing.

According to College Raptor, a website dedicated to providing accurate and practical information to college students, provides a really great resource regarding the pros and cons of working a job in college. Among these benefits, College Raptor lists the obvious benefit of extra income during a financially trying time, building a reputable resume, and a higher GPA than their non-working counterparts (if they work 20 hours or less per week). The cons include little to no free time, a lower GPA (if working more than 20 hours), and even more stress on top of the already astronomical stress of college students. Abound, a website dedicated to helping students finish college, offers 7 tips on their site to help with that work/student balance. They stress the importance of utilizing your support network, including family, friends, and even your roommate if you live on campus. Time management is also crucial to success as a working student, and being a dedicated, self-aware student can make all the difference between a degree and a dropout. Not always a viable option, but the site also mentions talking your situation over with your boss. Some bosses can be pretty understanding to the stress of being a working student and can help to work your schedule around your classes, and around stressful times like finals week. Streamlining tasks, optimizing your tuition, online classes, and loving your field of study are also topics that the site touches on. What is most important is knowing yourself as a student and knowing your limits personally. I hope my resource helped, and good luck with your first year as a UPIKE Bear!



Pettus, Erin. “7 Tips to Help You Balance School and Work – Abound: Finish College.” Abound, 24 Aug. 2020, abound.college/finishcollege/advice/7-tips-to-help-you-balance-school-and-work/.

Wignall, Allison. The Pros and Cons of Having a Job While in College. 18 Dec. 2019, www.collegeraptor.com/find-colleges/articles/student-life/pros-cons-job-college/.





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Balancing School and Work by Anonymous is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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