Finding the balance between school and work


Being a full-time student and maintaining a job at the same time can be stressful. Research shows, however, that regardless of popular belief, the benefits of being a working student greatly outweigh the costs.

BYU demographics as of fall 2012, show approximately 14,000 students are part-time employees at BYU. With a little less than half the student population working for BYU, this doesn’t include the numbers of students who work off-campus.

The negative connotation that typically comes with being a student employee doesn’t hold much ground when it comes down to it, according to some BYU students.

Jonathan Brannon, an Italian major from Decatur, Ala., said he enjoys working for BYU.

“The ability to stay on campus to work eliminates any time I would spend traveling to work off campus,” he said. “Staying on campus helps me stay on task and get all my schoolwork done. It works for me.”

Working can take up a lot of extra time students would have to devote to schoolwork, but some are upset about the effects it has on their social lives.

Brock Matthews, a business management major with an emphasis in marketing from Mesa, Ariz., has been a student employee for a year now.

“I really enjoy working and feeling good about being able to provide and take care of myself, but being a student and working also takes its effects on trying to enjoy the social life and activities that take place,” Matthews said. “My grades do take a hit because I can’t study as much and I try to balance it with work, school and a little fun. There isn’t enough time in the day to do all three.”

Matthews and other students have to learn to deal with maintaining a balance of all the activities in their busy lives. Grades may be affected, but not necessarily negatively.

Brannon thinks his grades are positively affected. He said being on campus for work makes it much easier to stay focused and do extra homework.

Grades can be a major issue, but the necessity to work and provide for oneself is the main purpose for maintaining jobs while attending school full-time. Typically, the “poor college student” needs all the money they can get. When it comes to supporting oneself, having a job means everything when paying for all the expenses that come along with college.

Elizabeth Smith is a full-time, married student. She and her husband rely heavily on their part-time jobs to support their needs throughout the school year. Smith, along with other students, have some complaints about the pay level, but they’ll take what they can get.

“The pay could be a little higher, but the starting line is better than most other student positions elsewhere,” Smith said.

Having understanding bosses and supervisors at the BYU work environment is another plus to being a working student. Working for BYU can make it easier to focus on school as well as have better scheduling to work around classes and extracurricular activities.

“Because I work for the school, my employer always emphasizes that school is most important and they provide a flexible work schedule,” Natalie Pennington, a recreation management major from Heber City, said. “Being a student employee is the absolute best option for working and going to school. It is convenient because my work and school are both on campus.”

Kirk Lester is a neuroscience major from Mount Pleasant, S.C. He said finding time to balance everything in his life has become a challenge and he accepts it with great responsibility.

“Managing time for studies and dating is hard,” he said. “But with a job, you have money for dates and fun with friends. I love being a working student.”

Taking time to have fun and go on dates can be especially important for BYU students. With a strong emphasis to date and build healthy relationships among members of the opposite sex, LDS students find a strong desire to balance their dating lives among work, school and everything else.

“Sadly, dating seems to take a back seat to all the other demands in my life,” Michelle Israel, a public health major from Amherst, Va., said. “I date, but not for recreation. I have too much to do to waste my time going on pointless dates.”

She echoes the thoughts of other BYU students as balancing school, work and dating life all bring about where to set your priorities.

Most students agree, however, as Lester said, “The pros definitely outweigh the cons.”

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