Students balance work with school

Do you ever wonder why college students flock to places that have free food?  What is one common thought that constantly runs through college students’ minds? If you answered these questions with “college students are broke” then you are entirely correct.  The University of Denver is not exactly a cheap school to attend and many students find it hard to financially support themselves throughout their years of studying as a DU Pioneer.

Majority of students, during their four years of undergraduate studies, will at some point complain about the lack of money in their bank accounts.  However, some students find a way around this precarious stage of life and jump into a job to support themselves.

Where students work

Kinsey helps out the Shwayder Arts Building with their Sandy Skoglund book and pipe cleaner installation.

Kinsey helps out the Shwayder Arts Building with their Sandy Skoglund book and pipe cleaner installation.

Various locations on and around the DU campus offer student employment opportunities.  Kinsey Knakkergaard, a junior with a major in Psychology, works in the Shwayder Arts building as a receptionist and second hand to the administrators working in the building.  She has been employed since January 2013 and works around fifteen hours a week.

Another on-campus location that provides students with jobs is the new Anderson Academic Commons.  Zac Debard works on the second floor as a graphic designer for the library.  Though he is a commuter student from Parker, CO, Zac still finds that working on campus is extremely convenient for the days he attends class.

Being in the city of Denver provides copious amounts of off-campus job positions as well.  Amber Swaim, a junior at DU with a major in Biology, is a student who chose to work two different jobs off-campus.

One of her jobs is a babysitter for a family in need of transportation help.  “I take the kids to school in the morning at around 7:30 am and then pick them up from school at 3 pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”  The other job she works is at the brand new Glacier Ice Cream shop on South University Boulevard.

At Glacier Ice Cream, Amber works around three times a week scooping delicious ice cream and gelato for hungry customers.

Why get a job?

Colorado offers a variety of activities for students to divulge into during their free time.  Restaurants on every block, the mountains only thirty minutes away, and over ten concert venues within miles of the DU campus can tempt students to spend their extra cash.

Ambers scoops a cone of ice cream for a customer

Ambers scoops a cone of ice cream for a customer

Amber Swaim, says “I got the jobs to make my car payments each month.”  Although she spends a lot of her income on her car payments, she also wants to have money left over to do extracurricular activities that make her happy, like “snowboarding, going out to dinner, going to bars and shopping.”

Though Amber thinks having a job is a great way to keep up with her extra expenses, she started working these two jobs “mostly to not need to borrow money from mom or dad anymore,” says Amber.

Many college find that it is helpful and almost necessary to have a job to pay off hefty student loans.  Students that need to pay off loans are often granted a work-study scholarship which provides them with a job on campus.  Often, they try to find a position that coincides with their studies or interests.

Kinsey chooses to work at the Shwayder Arts Building because she “was looking for a work-study job and this one caught [her] eye because [she] used to be an art major.”  Zac Debard chose his job at the Anderson Academic Commons because it was a work-study position, but also because he “was looking for a graphic designer job and wanted experience for when [he] does graphic design after graduating.”

Balancing work and school

Walking into the job world during college can be intimidating. The main concern is trying to figure out how you can keep up your grades while working a set number of hours per week.

“When I just have a lot of homework to do and need to go to work, especially around midterms and finals, it’s nuts,” states Kinsey Knakkergaard when being asked what her biggest challenge is with balancing both school and work.

“The biggest challenge I face with balancing work and school is to not get overwhelmed by all the work,” says Amber Swaim.

Amber Swaim provides words of wisdom that college students should try their best to follow when choosing to acquire a job on top of a full-time school schedule. “Finding a way to balance everything without stress is the key, once you start getting stressed out with work then you need to cut back on your job hours and find a new way to balance,” says Amber.

Another issue that working students face is getting their work schedules to fit in with their school schedules.  Zac shares that this was his main issue trying to balance work and school.

When it comes down to doing homework assignments, Zac is able to balance his workload “just by planning out all of the schoolwork I have to do and then setting up a schedule to do my homework when I am not at work.”  He finds that this is the most efficient way to stay on top of his work in a timely manner.

Entering the job world as a college student can be tricky.  If you find the right system that enables you to juggle going to school and working, it will guarantee you success.

2 Responses to Students balance work with school

  • Megan Sehr
    Megan Sehr says:

    I think you covered some varied aspects to this topic. The students you interviewed worked diverse jobs (some were on campus, while some were businesses off campus). I thought it was interesting that one students manages to work two jobs (that must be incredibly hard to balance!), and I liked how you included pieces of her advice at the end of your piece.

  • Hsing Tseng
    Hsing Tseng says:

    I enjoyed reading your piece, especially getting perspectives from students who work both on and off campus. I liked the advice from working students at the end in particular.

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