According to Weber State University’s 2011 student profile, 87 percent of students work for pay during the academic year.
Cady Mecham is a full-time student with a part-time job at Subway. She is a sophomore studying marketing at WSU. She said she handles a full load at school and a part-time job with time management.
“You have to just organize yourself,” Mecham said. “I’m not really good at it, but I try to not let work take over school.”
She also said it is important to remember that education comes first, and that she is lucky to have a job that works around her school schedule.
Allan Neire, a WSU junior with a job that ranges from part-time to full-time, agreed that school needs to come first.
“The biggest tip is finding a place that is willing to conform to you having a school schedule,” Neire said. “Education is really important, and you want a job where you know they are going to give you that idea that going to school is important.”
Neire, a medical translator, often has to drive to appointments and is sometimes on call. He said it is sometimes difficult to fit in his school life with his job hours.
“My line of work requires me to have a very open schedule,” Neire said, “so with school, I’m not able to work as much as I wish I could.”
As an interpreter, Neire helps patients in their doctor or psychological appointments when they do not speak English. He said he wished he had done work and school together earlier. He said he wished, however, that he had gained a little more experience with working and going to school with a job that had a more set schedule.
“I feel like it is worth it, because I love what I do for a living,” Neire said. “I love helping people. But I do realize that I want a more steady job in my life and that going through school right now is going to make that possible in the future.”
Ashley Jones, a WSU freshman studying broadcast journalism, also works on top of school.
“It’s hard to balance out with school,” she said.
She said that, for her first year of college, it has been hard to get into the swing of it, but she makes it work by planning her classes and schedule out.
“I start later shifts because all my classes are in the morning,” Jones said. “In the middle, I have time to do my homework, and afterwards I have time to do my homework, but I get off late sometimes and I go straight to bed. It’s kind of hard.”
She said it is the most hard when her shift gets done really late at night, because she doesn’t want to wake up for class the next morning. While Jones said she doesn’t recommend having a job as a first-year student, she also said working while going to school doesn’t interfere with her ability to have the “college experience.”
“. . . I can still make it to the events and stuff,” she said. ‘But I just think it is a really bad idea and no one should ever do it. Not your first year.”
Mecham said working only interferes with her college experience somewhat. She said she often misses social and sporting events, but is otherwise able to attend class and some on-campus activities.
Jones, Mecham and Neire all said that the balancing act can be tough and rewarding as long as school comes first.
“If you do it,” Mecham said, “do it part-time, and make sure they’re willing to work with your school schedule — because a little Subway job shouldn’t come above college to where you can get a much better job in the future.”